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Foodie Friday: Ladling out lentil to start soup season

Foodie Friday is back after a long hiatus, thanks to a favorite recipe that inspired me to kickstart the old weekly recipe post. The beginning of soup season always makes me a little giddy, in a foodie sort of way, and this week we dove into the cool weather cooking with a hearty and satisfying lentil soup that also happens to be vegan. I didn’t do that on purpose but it’s a nice coincidence. Try this on a cool autumn or winter night, and you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leafs
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 8 cups water (or vegetable broth, in which case you can drop bouillon cube)
  • 1 vegetable boullion cube
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • dash soy sauce
  • splash of red wine (optional)
  • 1 cup acini pepe pasta (or other small pasta — orzo, ditalini — or cooked rice)
  • fresh baby spinach, a few handfuls (optional)

Preparation

1. Saute onions, garlic, celery, carrots in olive oil until soft.

2. Add lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes so lentils start to soften.

3. Add boullion, salt and pepper, soy sauce, and wine, if using.

4. Simmer for 90 minutes. Add uncooked small pasta (or cooked rice) eight minutes before serving. (If I want a slightly smoother soup, I will zap this with a handheld immersion blender for a few seconds before I add the pasta or rice. Be careful not to burn yourself!) If you’re using spinach, dump it into the soup at this point and allow it to wilt before serving.

5. Serve with bread and salad.

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