Friday, January 7, 2011

Italian Lentil Soup

It's a cold, winter night... what's better than soup? How about lentil soup? I used this recipe as a guide, but did my own thing with it. I served this with Italian Feast Sausages from Vegan Brunch and hearty multi grain bread.

Italian Lentil Soup (makes a great New Year's meal as well, lentils are good luck you know!)
Serves a small country

I swear the spinach and tomatoes are in there, somewhere...
  • olive oil to coat pan
  • half a package (~6 strips) Smokey Tempeh, chopped into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 medium-large onion, diced small*
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped*
  • 4 carrots, chopped*
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced*
  • 1-2 14 oz cans brown lentils (I used 1 'cause it's all I had, but recommend using 2)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes w/ Italian herbs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (I used 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon w/ 8 cups water)
  • 1/4-1/2 pound small pasta (I used small shells, but elbows would work too), optional
  • 1 lb fresh spinach (just eyeball a few handfuls)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to serve
Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or dutch over. Add tempeh, cook until nicely browned being careful not to burn the small pieces. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender and translucent about 5 minutes. Add a drizzle of olive oil to cook veggies if necessary. Add lentils, cook about 2 minutes then add tomatoes, herbs and veg. stock. Bring to a boil then add pasta. Turn heat down to low and simmer until pasta is cooked through. Add spinach when pasta is still al dente. Remove bay leaves before serving. Dish up, season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper and a drizzle olive oil over the top (really, don't skip the oil, it's delicious). Be sure to have a loaf of hearty multi grain bread to dunk in your soup and soak up all that yummy goodness. You should have enough soup for a week. Or in my case, 2 days.

*Note: I am incredibly lucky to have my very own sous-chef. A few years ago as a birthday gift, I sent T to a "Basic Knife Skills" class. It was great because he enjoys chopping things and using big fancy chefs knives. He returned from the class eager to chop anything in sight to practice his new skills. Now when I need something to be cut up, he is often eager to sharpen the knife and get to work. I benefit from my gift idea, but also have to endure the response of "Yes chef" when I ask him to chop something for me.

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