Lentil-Vegetable Soup is full of savory, nutritional goodness
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
Here's a recipe that doesn't require much effort, yet yields a pot of savory, nutritional goodness your body will applaud. And yes, we're still in hot soup weather mode. Despair not, look at it this way: The Michigan fruit orchards are loving this cold weather. Last year's unseasonable warmth was devastating to the apple and cherry industry, so smile and warm up to a cup of hot soup.
The following recipe makes a thick, vegetable-packed bowl. Add additional stock if you prefer a brothier brew. The addition of balsamic vinegar wasn't in Eric's recipe, but a reflexive addition; I love a small amount of quality balsamic in bean soups, which was such a perfect marriage with the Italian cheese.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Simmer Time: Approx. 60 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound mushrooms, ends trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 (16 ounce) package of dried brown lentils
6-8 cups vegetable, chicken stock or water
1 (8-16) ounce can tomato sauce
1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen spinach
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, optional
Grated Italian cheese, such as Parmesan, romano or asiago
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Saute onion, celery and carrots, with a pinch of kosher salt, 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and continue until the begin to release their moisture.
2. Stir in garlic and herbs and cook a minute. Stir in lentils, 6 cups stock or water and tomato sauce; bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook about 15 minutes. Add spinach to pot, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, adding additional stock for a thinner soup, if desired.
3. Season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and balsamic vinegar, if using. Serve topped with fresh grated cheese.
Peggy Lampman is a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on her website and in the Food & Grocery section of Annarbor.com. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.