It is fall and to me fall means soup season. I love soup anytime of the year, but there is nothing better on a chilly day than a bowl of hearty soup. One that warms you up and fills your belly. Do you see where I am going with this? I am making soup into a meal.
Today is Wednesday. If you are new to reading my blog than you need to know Wednesday's are a busy day in our house. So I try to make something for dinner that is quick and simple. So today I am going back to cooking vegetarian.
To me it is very important when you are cooking vegetarian as a meal that it is filling and balanced. Now when I say balanced I mean it has your veggies, protein and carbohydrates. I find that when people are cooking vegetarian it is easy to be low or non-existent on the protein part. The bottom line is if you don't include the protein, you are going to have a very hungry belly fast.
So what better way to get a protein than through lentils? These little legumes are very high in protein (26%). They are easy; they come in different sizes and colors. But they cook very fast from the dry stage. They are not like a regular legume, where they need to soak over night. So for this reason alone they make cooking vegetarian quick and easy.
Lentils are nice as well to ease the non-vegetarian into cooking vegetarian. I have made it clear in my previous blogs that I am not vegetarian, but I do eat a lot of vegetarian dishes. Because lentils are not like your regular larger legume, they blend into your dish. Instead of standing out. You can buy lentils that are green, brown, yellow, black and red in color. They can be split or whole. The red ones are usually split and one of the most popular. Because they are split they cook even faster. That is why I am going to be cooking vegetarian today with red lentils.
I am going to share a lentil soup recipe with you. My friend Norma shared this with me many years ago and it has been (no pun intended) a staple in our house. Now for you guys out there that are not vegetarian and want to beef up this soup even more. You can add some cut up sausage to this; I would use a Chorizo or spicy Italian.
Belly Warming Lentil Soup5 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
2 medium carrots sliced
2 leeks chopped (whites only)
1 cup dry lentils (I use red)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 28oz can diced plum tomatoes
4c vegetable stock (chicken stock is fine for non vegetarians)
In soup pot sauté onions in olive oil until they are soft. Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes. Lower heat and stir in cumin. Cook for another couple of minutes. Add carrots and leeks, toss for another 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cook for about 30 minutes. Or until lentils are soft. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this with nice hearty bread and your belly will be happy.
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