Perfect Lentil Soup

IMG_9475Ah, January. Normally I’d be talking about how gray and sad the weather’s been here in Seattle, but fortunately I’d be lying to you if I said that now. It’s been gorgeous here this winter. Maybe a tish warm, but sunny and not gray, so I think we’re all counting ourselves lucky. That said, it’s still prime soup season, and lentil soup is my go-to, MVP, championship soup. I make a big batch at least every 10 days or so and take it for lunch. It’s warm, filling, easy, keeps well, and is great for cleaning out the veggie drawer and just using whatever you have. It’s pictured above with my buckwheat-oat biscuits, a fine combo if you’re so inclined.

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What you need:

1 small white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 inches of fresh ginger, chopped

1 russet potatoe, sweet potato, or whatever other potato you’ve got, chopped

Olive oil – roughly 3 Tbsp

1 can (the large one) of diced tomatoes (use fire-roasted tomatoes if you want a little extra zing- I highly recommend you try this)

1 cup of de Puy lentils, rinsed

6 cups of water

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

two zucchini, chopped

1 handful of green beans, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

*Seriously, friends. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. Cauliflower, broccoli, sunchokes, whatever! It will be delicious.  Trust me.IMG_9450Start by sauteeing onion, garlic, carrot, ginger, and potato in olive oil until onions are golden brown and carrots and potato are soft.

Next, add your can of tomatoes and bring to boil. Then add water, bring it to boil, then add lentils. Let boil for about 1 minute, and then bring it back to a low boil/simmer for 30 minutes, covered.

Once the lentil are cooked, add veggies and cooke for another 5-10 minutes. Add thyme, salt, and pepper, let simmer another 5 minutes or so and then serve. Unlike Flava-Flav, the flavors will only get better over time. IMG_9477Eat up and enjoy! 🙂

A Lovely Fall Lentil Salad

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My friends, welcome to fall! This may be my favorite season – that crispness in the air, a slight bite to the wind, but the most dreamy color schemes a lady could ask for all around. It’s also time for a welcome return to roasted veggies and heartier meals. Huzzah!

This particular dish was photographed my Mr. Adam Reitano. He’s wonderful and incredibly talented, and you should definitely check out his website to see some of his other work.

Now, onto the food. There are two things that I love about lentils: 1) they’re tasty; and 2) they’re cheap. I’ll add a number 3: 3) they’re easy to make. If you haven’t spent time with my dear friends the de Puys or the browns, then please, please, go to your local market and meet them. You’ll like them.

This particular lentil salad is really a mish-mosh of whatever veggies you have on hand. The combination of some cooked veggies with some raw gives the dish some nice variety and texture. That said, you have sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes? Awesome! You have parsnips? Cool! You really don’t like radishes? Fine! Well, promise me you’ll at least try them sauteed before you axe them completely – they’re realllllly nice that way. You want to add green beans or broccoli? Do it! A handful of greens would also be sooooo good here. Same goes for spices, folks. Mix it up, be creative. This is a hard thing to totally mess up because there’s really no “right” way to do it.

What you need:

DSC_81812 cups rinsed and drained lentils (I like de Puys, but any type could be good here)

1 small onion, chopped and sauteed

6 cloves garlic, chopped and sauteed

2 russet potatoes, diced and roasted

1-2 cups white mushroomes, sliced and sauteed

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and either roasted or left raw (if I roast cauliflower, I eat it all in about 5 minutes, so it’s left raw in this recipe)

I bunch radishes, cleaned, sliced, and sauteed

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 yellow pepper, chopped

Handful cilantro, chopped

2 heaping Tbsp whole grain mustard

Olive oil, enough for lots of sauteeing and roasting and about an 2-3 Tbs for dressing

Champagne vinegar, about 1/8 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

Whew, that’s a lot of ingredients. Stay with me, this is easier than it seems.

What to do:

First, preheateth thine oven. To 375.

Second, begin boiling 5 cups of water on the stove. Once the boiling has occurred, put your rinsed and drained lentils into the pot, keep at a rollingboil for about 30 seconds, then reduce to a low boil, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes-ish. Keep checking back on these guys. If there seems to be too much water, take the lid off and let some evaporate off. The real thing to avoid here is mushy lentils.

This is how many people like a mushy lentil salad: 0. Ew. So, watch your lentils like little lentil-loving hawks!

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While your lentils cook, dice your potatoes, coat in about 1-2Tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread out on a baking sheet. Place them in the oven when ready and roast for about 15-20 minutes, flip them, and roast another 5-10 minutes.

While these guys are roasting, begin the sautee.DSC_8265

Chop your onion, garlic, and sautee in olive oil (or veggie broth if you’d rather) until tender and golden brown, then add your mushrooms and radishes.DSC_8661

Once everything is tender and luscious looking in your sautee pan, remove from heat. Check your potatoes and your lentils. Once ready, remove both from heat as well. Chop the rest of your raw ingredients.DSC_8783

Mix it all in a bowl!DSC_8790

Add olive oil, vinegar, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and eat! Serves about 4 as a main meal, or 6 as side dishes. Enjoy and happy fall, bloggernet!DSC_8809