Our Favorite Lentil Soup {gluten free & vegan}

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As a university dietitian, I spend a good chunk of my day talking to students about kitchen essentials. Topics include must-have appliances, pantry staples, and easy, healthy recipes that they can whip up without using google. It’s amazing to me how many students I see who aren’t comfortable in the kitchen! Since I practically grew up with a wooden spoon in my mouth, I sometimes forget that often a barrier to eating healthy is not having a clue on what foods to make.

So, my students and I talk a lot about food. You know, recipe ideas that tweak the college basics: pasta that isn’t ramen, stiry-fry using frozen vegetables, and for my students who know how to chop a few vegetables, this perfect lentil soup.

Oh yeah, I went there. My perfect lentil soup. Perfect in the sense that it takes limited skills in the kitchen, is incredibly flavorful, healthy and did I mention- dirt cheap. While it completes the checklist for a starving student, it also fits my checklist of must-have meals on a monthly basis.

I’ve made this soup so many times, I could make it in my sleep. Start with a simple saute of onion, carrot and celery. Followed by fire-roasted tomatoes, cooked lentils, spices, and savory broth. I was shocked that I hadn’t yet included it on my blog so last weekend I measured each spice and ingredient so you too could enjoy the perfect lentil soup.

As vegetarians, I don’t ever worry about BL’s and my protein intake because I know we are getting enough, thanks in part to my reliance on the mighty lentil. (You know it wouldn’t be a proper DK post if I didn’t declare my love for lentils at least once.)

The little legume packs 18g of protein plus 16g of fiber all for 1 cup. I bring this point up so often because I think it’s important to note that legumes deliver quite the nutrition punch; it’s also what gives this soup amazing staying power. Since protein is the most satiating (read: fuller, longer) macronutrient, adding it to major meals allows you to feel satisfied longer. It also prevents mid-afternoon snack attacks.

Of course this soup is perfect on it’s own or paired with a salad; however, if you have a few more moments of time, consider making a loaf of my no-knead bread alongside. Just like the soup, you don’t need to be a baker to have perfect bread. The no-knead approach is completely foolproof–just ask my college students ; )

Let’s chat! What meal do you make so often, you could you make it in your sleep?

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Our Favorite Lentil Soup {gluten free & vegan}
 
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The perfect lentil soup! Hearty, healthy and full of flavor!
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 qt. vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1¼ cup lentils (green are my favorite!) rinsed and picked over
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a stockpan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot and celery and small pinch salt and pepper.
  3. Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to sweat together and reduce. You want the onions to almost be caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and stir together to cook for an additional minute.
  5. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the red wine vinegar and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until lentils are tender.
  7. Depending on the brand of broth used, you may need more salt and pepper. Season to taste.
  8. Before serving, stir in the tbsp. of red wine vinegar
  9. I prefer my soup with lots of broth but if you would prefer a thicker soup, remove 1-2 cups of the soup and add to a blender. Puree until smooth and add back to the soup.

 

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