Ever thought about going vegetarian? The perks can range from a cleaner conscience on issues of factory farms and animal rights, a healthier diet, to a cheaper grocery bill.
But even if you love a good steak and can’t imagine Thanksgiving without turkey, you can still try to incorporate vegetarian dishes into your weekly menu. Try something new; you may surprise yourself! Today I’ll share with you one of my favourite fall recipes from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cooking blog. Lentils, I will have you know, are an excellent meat alternative as they are high in protein and contain several essential amino acids. They are easy to cook up (about 20 minutes of simmering in water is all it takes!) and taste delicious served with rice (a compete protein dish!), in soups or tossed in a salad. This lentil soup is hearty and filling and warms you right up after a walk home in the wind.
Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup Recipe
I’ve found that French green lentils and black beluga lentils hold their shape nicely – they don’t go to mush in the pot. I sometimes used fire-roasted organic crushed tomatoes; they lend a lovely deep smoky flavor to whatever you use them in. If you come across them, give them a try in this soup. If not, regular crushed tomatoes are just fine. Can’t find greek yogurt, no problem – just use whole plain yogurt. Vegans can skip the yogurt entirely and finish the soup with a generous drizzle of good olive oil instead. And just a reminder, this makes a nice big pot of soup, so use a large pot – I eat the leftovers all week.
2 cups black beluga lentils (or green French lentils), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
3 cups of a big leafy green (chard, kale, etc), rinsed well, deveined, finely chopped
plain greek yogurt (optional)
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the lentils, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Next, heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until tender, a couple minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils, and water and continue cooking for a few more minutes, letting the soup come back up to a simmer. Stir in the chopped greens, and wait another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.
Ladle into bowls, and serve with a dollop of yogurt.
Serves 6 to 8.