Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

This recipe, from the March/April 2010 Clean Eating Magazine (are you noticing a theme this week? This issue is fantastic!), is written for the stovetop, but since tonight is our running group night, I modified it to work in the slow cooker. I also cut it in half, not wanting a zillion portions of soup around to haunt me and The H for months, especially if it didn't turn out well. The original recipe follows.

Lentil Soup
from Clean Eating Magazine
serves 16

2 cups dried green (French/Puy) lentils
3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic, about 2 cloves
1/2 cup tomato sauce (canned or homemade)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp crumbled oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons

1. Rinse the lentils in a fine mesh strainer and pick through to remove any bits of stone or dirt. Drain well.

2. Place lentils in soup pot with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30min or until lentils are no longer hard in the center.

3. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Continue simmering another 30min or until lentils are tender.

4. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice. Cool to room temperature and store covered for up to five days in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Since I adapted this for the slow cooker, I just piled everything into the crock at once, and cooked it on low for about 6 hours. We did not use the lemon juice. I kept the quantities of veggies the same, for the most part, and used 6 cups of stock/broth.

This was my first experience with French/Puy/green lentils. I found them at my local health food store. They taste the same as regular old (brown?) lentils. In fact, I even tossed in about 1/4 cup regular lentils that I found in the pantry. It wasn't enough to do anything else with but they went perfectly in this soup.

The end result could've used some more pepper, but that's my fault and not the recipe's, since there is no quantity listed. When serving, we grated some fresh Parmesan into our bowls. We ended up with enough soup for dinner, plus three leftover portions. The H will have one for lunch, and I froze the other two for later.

On the side, we had a fresh spinach salad (spinach, strawberries, crumbled local nitrate-free bacon, mushrooms, goat cheese, pine nuts, HFCS-free Ranch dressing) on the side. If we hadn't done this--if I had muffins or fresh bread to go along with the soup--I would have wilted some spinach into the soup before serving.

Nutrition information for an 8-oz serving:
Calories - 120
Total fat - 2.5g
Saturated fat - 0g
Carbs - 0g
Fiber - 4g
Sugars - 3g
Protein - 8g
Sodium - 450mg
Cholesterol - 0mg

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