VEGETARIAN LENTIL SOUP
Yes, that’s what my husband said that the first time I served a vegetarian dinner. At least he tried it. He just wasn’t contented without some kind of animal protein. I was eventually able to get him to feel physically and psychologically satisfied with vegetarian meals, but often had to have dairy or eggs as part of the meal.
Then a special young man in our lives (my son in law’s brother) became extremely ill. After some research, he found that a vegan diet might help in addition to the medical interventions that were deemed necessary. Since he would stay with us when traveling across the state for treatments, I researched and tried new vegan meals regularly. He is doing well now, is married and has two kids! And Allen started to truly enjoy meals without animal protein. Well, at least he acted like he did, bless his soul!
This soup is a vegan soup that is very satisfying and filling, and is perfect for fall. I serve it with feta cheese as an accompaniment for those who would like to add it in. It tastes great either way, though.
Vegetarian Lentil Soup is one of those “dump” soups: put it all in a crock pot, stir once, and let it go all day. I don’t usually measure exactly when making something like this. But I decided that I would do so this time. I carefully cleaned, trimmed and chopped the mirepoix of onions, celery, and carrots. Then I simply dumped it all in the slow cooker—and, of course I completely forgot to measure any of it. So, the above photos show one medium onion, 3 medium carrots, 5 small stalks of celery. After rough chopping, I think each ingredient came out to be about 1 cup, give or take a bit…
Add the lentils, some canned, diced tomatoes—I prefer the fire roasted variety—and toss in some herbs. Pour in vegetable broth, give it all a quick stir and dinner can simmer along while you ignore it and do what you want to do. At first it will look like it is going to be a thin soup, but have faith. After 8 hours on low heat, or 4 hours on high, the lentils swell and push up all around and in between the vegetables.
I use a stick blender to whirl it all into a thick, luxurious mouthful of flavor and goodness. You can also use a blender, but be sure to cool it for about 5 minutes, prior to processing this in a blender. Just follow the precautions and suggestions in the recipe. The herbs and broth add flavoring to the otherwise straightforward taste and texture of the heart-healthy, high fiber, low-fat legumes. I like to serve feta cheese alongside, because I enjoy the tangy, salty kick it gives to the soup.
Vegetarian Lentil Soup
- 1 medium onion
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 3 medium carrots, peeled
- 2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- Feta Cheese, crumbled (optional)
Roughly chop the onion, carrots, and celery and place in a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients except the feta cheese. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Lentils should be soft. Use a stick blender to combine everything and smooth ingredients out.
Or use a blender: Cool the soup about 5 minutes. Remove the center cap from the lid and fill the blender no more than halfway up with the soup. Put the lid back on and cover the opening with a thick kitchen towel. Process until smooth and pour into a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the soup.
Serve with feta to sprinkle on top. Makes 8 servings.