Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lentil Soup for Health and Wealth

It is an Italian tradition to eat lentils on New Year's Eve.  The shape of the lentils are reminiscent of Roman coins, and they represent the wealth (in all areas of life) that the new year will bring.

 It's a nice tradition, and it gives me an excuse to make some lentil soup!  Since it's an Italian tradition, I thought that a simple Italian style soup is in order.










Ingredients:

olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup green lentils, washed
1 package frozen, chopped spinach
1 can tomatoes (diced, not crushed)
4-6 cups vegetable broth (1 1/2 boxes)
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley, or 1 tsp each dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes

Directions

1. Pour enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a large soup pot.  Over medium-low heat, cook onions until soft.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add lentils and stir to cover with oil.
2. Add 4 cups of broth and stir in herbs.  Unwrap frozen spinach and place in the pot.  It will defrost in the pot, just break up with  spoon when soft.  Bring soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer until lentils are soft.
3. Add tomatoes and juice and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and optional red pepper flakes if using.  If you don't like pieces of tomatoes in your soup, then puree the whole can first or strain the chunks out and just add juice.
4. If the soup is too thick, add the remaining two cups of broth.  Heat through and serve.


Non-vegan options:
Top with some grated parmesan cheese and some sausage medallions.  To make medallions:
Fry whole sausages (Italian style pork sausages are traditional, check labels for gluten) in a non-stick pan until cooked through.  When done, remove from pan and slice into medallions.  Garnish bowls of soup with a few medallions.

Can't wait to eat some tomorrow night!

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