Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Becky's Italian Style Lentil Soup

I think the lentil may very well be the perfect food. You can buy a pound of lentils for less than a buck and the nutritional value per serving is crazy good:
Fat: 0 gms
Protein: 8 gms
Fiber: 9 gms (HELLO!)
Carb: 19 gms
Calories: 70

And that is why I am sharing my favorite lentil soup with you! If you've never tried lentils, now is a good time. This flavorful, peasant dish will keep you going. My kids have been eating this soup since they started on solid food. Miracle! Nutritious, delicious and cheap to make. It also freezes very well. You can find lentils in the section where all the dried beans are sold in the market.

Becky's Italian Style Lentil Soup
2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped or crushed
1 cup sliced Baby Bella mushrooms (these hold up better in the cooking process than a white button mushroom)
2-32 Oz cartons of low sodium broth. Vegetable,chicken or beef stock will all work just fine for a total of 8 cups. I like Trader Joes stock because the price is good and the ingredients are healthy, no msg, etc. If you make your own homemade stock, all the power to you. Now's the time to use it up!
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup dried brown lentils
1 cup small pasta such as Orzo or Accini de Pepe.


In a large pot, heat oil on medium/low heat. Olive oil heats up fast so be careful. Add onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Cook for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add pinch of dried thyme and the garlic, cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir well.

Add 8 cups of stock, 1 cup of dried lentils, dried basil and oregano. Increase heat to high. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover, cooking for approx 40-45 minutes. The goal is to not have hard lentils so be not afraid of the cooking time. Add 1 cup of water if you find it's evaporating. While it is still on a good simmer, add the uncooked pasta and make sure you keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot so the pasta doesn't stick (adding a drizzle of olive oil here helps too). Another option: cook the pasta separately and add to the soup but I'm lazy and don't want to dirty another pan.). Simmer the soup until the pasta is cooked. Add more water if needed. This turns out more like a stew, not too brothy. Adjust seasonings if necessary with more salt and pepper and chopped fresh parsley.

My blogtographer Mark, who says he is not a fan of soup, loved this recipe. Picture credits to him, once again. Thanks, my fellow foodie and WW'er!

PS. The focaccia posing on top of the soup is another Becky creation. Recipe to follow!



This looks so delicious Becky! I can see why your little fellas love it.

I have a great rice cooker that is super easy to clean, and is great for making pasta, too. I got this affordable appliance at Target, so cleaning another pot/pan becomes a non-issue.

Also, I am a serious proponent of making stock from scratch. It's really simple, and can easily be done in a Crockpot.

Can't wait to try your lentil soup!

Lisa said...

Tomato paste comes in two sizes. How big a can?

Rebecca Nero said...

Sorry, Lisa! I just corrected it to show 6 oz can. Thanks for pointing that out : )

Dean Jenkins said...

I saw that you posted your recipe on my website www.papayahead.com
Thank you! It looks great and I plan to cook it soon for my family.

I love that you are a "anti-multi-tasker". I actually wrote about that on my blog...

Take care,


Simply Life said...

oh wow, that looks delicious!

Velva said...

This looks like a great lentil soup. You are right, lentils are affordable and pack a vitamin and fiber punch that we all need. Thanks for sharing.

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Sandi said...

This soup really looks great......I have bookmarked you and am going to join your group on FB.

triathletegal said...

This is amazing!! My mother is so grateful for all the makeup it made her smile =)