I totally agree with Jerry! Soup is definitely a meal, especially this hearty lentil soup served with some crusty bread on the side. Since it was a dreary rainy day in New York today, I decided to make this old standby. Soups are a staple dish in my home. It is one of the main ways I get my sons to eat healthy foods. Although their favorite is a classic mushroom-barley soup, this basic lentil soup is a close second. I like to make it on Sundays, doubling the batch to be served throughout the week. It is super simple to make and I believe that everyone should have a basic lentil soup recipe in their repertoire. I found this recipe on vegweb (my favorite source for recipes) a few years ago, and I have been making it ever since.
I used my LeCreuset 71/4 quart round French oven to make this wonderful soup. Although the original recipe calls for 3-4 cups of water, I use about 6-8 cups of water. You can choose to use as many cups as you would like to depending upon how thick you like your soup.
BASIC LENTIL SOUP
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut up into chunks (whatever size chunks you prefer)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (but not too thin)
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound baby carrots
5 sticks of celery, chopped (whatever size you prefer)
3 vegetable bouillon cubes (I am partial to the Rapunzel brand vegan bouillon cubes with no added salt)
1 bay leaf
6-8 cups of water (depending upon how thick or thin you prefer your soup)
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat up the olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions turn clear. Then, add the potatoes, celery and carrots to the pot with the onions and garlic. Stir, add the lentils and cover the whole mixture with water. I used about 6 cups of water, but you could use more or less depending upon how thick you like your soup.
When the mixture reaches boiling, add the bouillon cubes and bay leaf. Then, reduce everything to a simmer and place the lid loosely over the pot. Simmer until the potatoes and lentils are soft, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent sticking. This should take approximately 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with some hot, crusty bread.