Lovely Lentil Soup

nope! not river rocks!

Beautiful before, yummified after!

What is a lentil, you ask? Lentils are legumes. As such they are high in protein and fiber and are considered to be an ideal weight-loss food due in part to their treasured low spot on the Glycemic Index. They look a bit like split peas, but do not be fooled. These are special little sprites, and will spice up your soups and stews with satisfying, stupefying, savory, yet simple splendor. (ha! Take THAT, alliteration fans!) 😛

They are, like many legumes, not particularly flavorful on their own, thus they will take on a lot of spicing up or combining with other foods with good grace. The following recipe is quick and easy, (and cheap!) and will make a satisfying addition to your collection, I guarantee!

What you will need:

  • Lentils, about 16 oz. You will find the green variety in the market near the beans and rice, and they come packaged in 12 oz. bags. The lentils pictured above were obtained as pre-mixed from Whole Foods, and were found…you guessed it! In the Lentil Aisle. Which is near the Chickpea Aisle, for those of you who are fond of the Hell Yeah, Hummus! recipe.
  • 1 onion, yellow, white or red, diced
  • 2-3 large carrots, coined or diced (or however you prefer, so long as the pieces are relatively uniform in size
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 32 oz. chicken stock, low or no sodium
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1-2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tsp salt (I prefer kosher)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Suracha sauce (for heat)
  • 1/2 Tbs grape seed or canola oil
  • Plain, non-fat yogurt (optional)

What you do:

Lentils are very easy to prepare, and do not require soaking. Toss ’em into a colander or strainer and rinse those puppies well, then be sure to check visually and with your digits for small stones. No one wants to lose a tooth to the cause of slenderization. It’s not worth it, man. Trust me.

So rinse your lentils, make sure they are stone-free, and in a large pot or Dutch oven:

Heat the oil over medium high heat, then add the prepared vegetables, garlic, curry powder, garlic powder (if you so desire), salt, pepper (I grind in about three to four turns), and turmeric. [click HERE for some interesting and fun facts about this spice! :)] Sautee together until the onions soften. Add in the wine, stir, and when the alcohol scent has disappeared add in the lentils, chicken stock, water and bay leaves. Use one or two bay leaves, depending on how much you enjoy the flavor of bay. I use two. Stir together and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour or until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally and re-season as needed.

NOTE: Check your seasonings by tasting the broth while the lentils are cooking, and add in Suracha sauce to taste, adjust your salt, curry powder etc. Doing this periodically while cooking will ensure that you get the seasoning level YOU want, and that you do not over-season your fabulous creations.

Suggestion: To serve, add a dab of non-fat yogurt and stir well. This gives a bit  of acid ‘bite’ to the soup and increases the richness of the color as well, without adding a lot of calories. It also helps as a ‘cooling’ agent just in case you happen to have gotten a bit too free with the Suracha (hey, it happens to us all, no worries!). Lots of ‘good’ carbs in this dish means you’ll be satisfied and happy–give these lovely lentils a chance to work their magic–you’ll be glad you did!

Bon apetit!