I know, when I used to think of the word “lentils” it was less than appealing.
We didn’t grow up eating them. Their close cousins, split peas, were the nearest I got and -ahem- split pea soup was just a little… heavy… the way I usually had it.
But I have a new appreciation and palate for lentils. Especially these (which I can’t stop eating. I’ve had to remove myself from the kitchen.)
This recipe is like an ideal romantic partner: uncomplicated, forthright, wholesome and YUMMY.
It’s a cross between a stew and a side dish. Add more broth if you’d like it soupier, add less if you want it dryer and perhaps pair it with rice.
Blossoming Veggie Lentils
*Remember, I’m an eye-baller. Cooking is like painting -you put too many rules on it and it takes out the fun, so keep that in mind and let your culinary artist enjoy creating your own take on this recipe.
Lentils -I filled my soup pot about 1/4-1/3 with dry lentils. My hubby bought French Green Lentils so that’s what I used, but often I just get the cheap bags simply labeled “lentils” in the dry goods section.
Add twice as much water and let soak overnight. This will start the blossoming effect where your lentils sprout a bit. Like more growth? Just rinse them in the morning and cover again with fresh water and let them soak longer. Change the water every 8-12 hours or so, you don’t want stinky beans.
Your beans are ready! Rinse thoroughly (use a strainer) then put them back in your soup pot and cover with water. Heat over medium/low on the stove.
Vegetable Stock -add this instead of additional water as the lentils cook. Add for your desired consistency.
Now we’ll prep the veggies. Don’t add them until the lentils are thoroughly cooked, otherwise you’ll cook the crap out of them and nobody (sane) likes overcooked vegetables.
Onion -dice up small (I used 1/2 a yellow) and brown in a separate pan.
Carrots -grate them using the thicker grating holes. 2 did it for me, but you’re the boss!
Celery -chop up in tiny bits. I used the heart and center stalks that nobody likes to eat raw but make excellent soup fillers, leaves and all.
Red Bell Pepper -chop up small. I used 1/2 a large bell pepper. Mix it up and choose green, yellow, orange or a bit of all four options for fabulous color!
Add the veggies and let simmer for awhile.
Season with garlic powder (or fresh garlic), salt to taste and black pepper.
It’s pretty fantastic garnished with shredded cilantro, so if you have some on hand I’d give it a whirl.
I’m having a hard time looking at these pictures because it makes me want to eat another bowl…and I’m already stuffed.
Want to spice it up?
Add cumin and a can of drained petite diced tomatoes for a more latin feel. Try curry and a touch of coconut milk for Indian flavor. Or go African and plop in a dollop of peanut butter and a pour of apple juice. Cilantro will be fabulous with any of these!