Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup

CopyCat Tomato Lentil Soup

Out with the old, in with the new.

 It’s been my mantra for 2016 …well .. the first part of the quote anyway. After living in a home for 26 years, and NOT taking time to declutter my life before now, I ‘m in need of a  large dumpster!  So the purging has begun.  Much of my junk is obsolete.. boy has technology changed!  Some of these dated items I’ve repurposed, like the stacks of  books my husband and I own. These texts, once the purpose of education, are now considered decorative, covered in parchment paper and filling bookshelves in our great room.   Some of my unwanted stuff,  is just a  reflection of changed interests  and hobbies…  like a 44 gallon fish tank.. I am serious..

Now for the second part of that opening quote, there is  this

A New Ingredient for the New Year, the Recipe Redux theme for January:

Pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try… and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. Are you curious about nutritional yeast, fish sauce, matcha, teff – or maybe even ugli fruit? Show us how you’re cooking with something new (to you!) in 2016.

My new ingredient for 2016 is lentils! I picked lentils for 2 reasons. The first is simply that   I like lentils, yet have never prepared them. The second relates to a broader goal to heighten public awareness, something that  the United Nations began by declaring 2016 the International Year of Pulses. If you’re asking yourself, ‘What are pulses?’, you’re not alone.  I did. You probably know them as dry peas, dry beans,  chickpeas and yes, lentils. Sounds more familiar, right?

Theses little beans are the food equivalent of a hat trick;  they score with three notable benefits:   nutritional, economic and environmental.

Pulses are a plant based source of protein. The fact that they are a terrific source of fiber, makes them an  important food for managing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease and cancer.

Pulses  are inexpensive to buy and have a long shelf life.  A study published in Obesity  concluded the can be helpful with weight management by  increasing the feeling of fulness when included in  meals.

Pulses aren’t just good for our bodies, they’re good for the environment. If you want to eat sustainably, don’t forget these.

I am amazed at the numerous ways to prepare lentils  and suggest you check out Oldways tips for 12 Great Ways to use Lentils. I went with the soup suggestion , making a copycat version of a Panera favorite. It’s easy to make  and so delicious , especially on a cold winter night.

Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see what new ingredients my fellow Recipe Reduxers are trying for 2016!

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Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 carrots finely chopped, about 1 up
  • 1 large onion chopped fine, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 ounces portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken cooking stock (use vegetable cooking stock for vegetarian)
  • 6 ounces water
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsely leaves

Instructions

1.Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook just until mushrooms release liquid, about 3 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes,bay leaf, thyme, cooking stock, pepper and lentils. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat , cover and and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons parsley. Garnish each bowl with remaining parsley.

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