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  Much of my junk is obsolete..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!

Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup


Copycat Tomato Lentil Soup

by Diane Boyd


  • 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


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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Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

Yes, you can make  flavorful chicken pho in less than one hour!

Quick Chicken Noodle PhoDisclosure: I received free samples of Progresso Cooking Stock  mentioned in this post at no cost. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Progresso Cooking Stock and am eligible to win prizes associated  with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’m delighting in the cooler temperatures this week. We had a balmy, humid Christmas. No complaints, but this week I’m enjoying the things associated with winter, including mittens, blankets and soup. For me, soup is comfort.  I also like the fact that they increase satiety, the feeling of fullness that signals your brain to stop eating. For these reasons, I routinely enjoy a bowl of soup as part of my healthy lifestyle.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for  a Quick Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Pho. I know, ‘quick pho’ sounds like an oxymoron.  Vietnamese pho is all about the broth! Unfortunately, prepping authentic tasting pho  can be a ridiculously long affair (I hear hours and even days of simmer time).  In the past, I would never have attempted to make this, leaving it a treat reserved for only when I’m eating out.  Now, with the introduction of a new line of Cooking Stocks from Progresso…


…I can re-create restaurant favorites in the comfort of my own kitchen.Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

Progresso Cooking Stocks are insanely flavorful!  These premium Cooking stocks are made by simmering real bones, vegetables and herbs to create a flavor that’s close to homemade. The rich, meaty flavor of these stocks makes them ideal for adding deep, complex flavor to many dishes including soups and stews, sauces and gravies. I love that they’re made without artificial flavors and have just 15-45 calories/95-420 mg sodium /0-1 gram fat per serving.

Here are all the ingredients I used to make this comfort food…ingredients for quick Chicken Noodle Pho

..that starts by  adding fresh ginger to the Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock  along with chicken thighs and bit of fish sauce and sugar.   While the chicken simmers in the stock for 30 minutes, noodles are cooked and drained.  Before 60 minutes are up, bowls are filled with noodles and chicken  and the  piping-hot hero ingredient is ladeled over the top. The fun part of this meal is allowing everyone to customize  their own  pho by providing an assortment of garnishes  set in the middle of the table. I served thinnly sliced scallions, crunchy mung bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil, limes, serrano chiles, and Sriracha. How would you finish your bowl of flavor?

Check out the links below for more ways to easily enjoy one of the hottest culinary trends, bone broth, using Progresso premium Cooking Stocks.

Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

Quick Chicken Noodle Pho

serves 4

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 32 ounce carton Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock
  • 4 boneless, skinless  chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1 scallion, thinnly sliced
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup  Thai basil
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2  red serrano chiles
  • Hot Sauce , Sriracha, or hoisin sauce (optional)


 1.  Combine Progresso Chicken Cooking Stock  and fresh ginger in a  stockpot over moderate heat.  Add chicken thighs, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat  and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

2. While stock is simmering, prepare noodles according to package direction. Drain and keep warm.

3. When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain stock.

4. Divide warm noodles between four bowls. Add chicken. Ladle the broth over noodles and chicken. Serve  with  scallions, bean sprouts, lime wedges, thai basil and  serrano chiles. Add hot sauce, sriracha or hoisin sauce as desired.

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