I've been on a real lentil kick lately - they're super good for you, inexpensive and an easy ingredient to make hearty, filling soups with.
Lentils pair well with most vegetables, and are very versatile, working well in soups (obviously), chili, casseroles, 'meat'loaves, salads, sandwich spreads and dips.
If you've never tried them, this is a great starter recipe - try it now! You've been missing out on one of the tastiest, fastest-cooking legumes out there.
This has been my favorite go-to lentil soup recipe forever; and apparently, I've somehow neglected to share it until now...
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup butternut or other winter squash, (or sweet potato), diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted red pepper (I just use the kind from the jar)
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. dried oregano
6 cup vegetable stock or vegetarian "chicken" style broth
2 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped baby kale (or other greens)
1. Put the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, just a minute or two. Add the butternut squash and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot, about 2 minutes. (Add more oil if needed, especially if using sweet potato instead of squash).
2. Add the lentils, roasted red pepper, bay leaf, oregano, ground pepper, stock/broth and water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover (I usually crack the lid so some steam can escape) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and squash are soft and tender, about 40+ minutes.
*You can also cook in a Crock-Pot on low for four hours here, if you prefer.
3. (At this point, you may cool and refrigerate the soup, covered, for up to 2 days; reheat gently.)
Add more stock at this point if the soup is too thick - you want it to simmer without sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. 10 minutes before serving, stir in kale and simmer 10 min, or until tender. Taste, adding salt and more pepper if needed, and serve.