24 August 2012

Italian-Infused Tomato Lentil Soup


Italian-Infused Tomato Lentil Soup

I feel like lentils are a weird food. Yummy, but weird. They seem like a cross between beans and noodles. That is, they have the texture of beans (kind of) and look like noodles. Plus, for being so little, they're packed full of protein and fiber.  

It had been a while since I'd had lentils, so when I saw them sitting in the cabinet, I decided to break them out again and embrace these healthful and tasty (albeit weird) legumes.

While this dish is heavy with Italian flavors, I threw in some raisins at the last minute.

What I Used:

~ 1/4 Cup brown lentils
~ 1/2 Cup water
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
~ 1/2 teaspoon ground basil

~ A couple handfuls (About 1/8 cup) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (no salt added canned or dried-cooked before use)
~ Red and yellow bell peppers (About 1/2 cup total), chopped into 1-inch chunks
~ About 1/4 cup white onion, small/medium diced
~ 1 Cup tomatoes, large diced or cut into large chunks (I used no-salt-added canned because I didn't have fresh at the time, plus there's a lot of juice). If using fresh, try not to let too much juice escape or cut them over a bowl.
~ 2 Tablespoons raisins
~ Pinch (or 2) of garlic powder
~ 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
~ Black pepper, to taste
~ Asiago cheese

What I Did:

  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a strainer and pick out any "rocks"/"debris" (things that look like they don't belong).
  2. Add lentils, water, oregano, basil, and minced garlic to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then partly cover (crack it at the top) and turn down the heat to a simmer.
  3. When most of the water is gone (but not all) add all of the other ingredients, except the asiago cheese. Let simmer, covered, until peppers are cooked to desired softness. I left mine a little crunchy for texture.
  4. Place in a bowl and lightly sprinkle with asiago cheese.

* My chickpeas were fully cooked but frozen, so I put them in with everything else, but if yours are not frozen, you may want to add them more towards the end so they don't get overcooked and mushy.

** The onions were an afterthought along with the raisins, so I didn't precook them. For even more flavor, you may want to sauté them, along with the peppers, before adding to the saucepan.


Question of the day: Am I the only one who thinks lentils are a bit on the weirder side? Do you eat a lot of lentils?

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