During chilly nights, I want to have something to warm me up. I love food. Talking about it, reading about it (love food blogs!), taking pictures, sharing it with others and most of all eating it. What I don’t really love is all the fuss that’s involved. There’s the prep work, the soaking, washing the dishes and tidying up afterwards. On some days, it just seems like too much work.
For those lazy days when, all I want to do is make something quick, warm and healthy, I turn to soups. I don’t think you can really go wrong with experimenting with soups but here’s a recipe I always go back to. It was inspired by this one. I enjoyed the original but as you can see, I’ve changed it quite a bit. I use to follow recipes exactly as they were outlined. This past year, I’m getting more comfortable going without a recipe and just putting something together based on what I like to eat. This is a very loose recipe I’ve provided below.
Quick and Easy Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Small bag of frozen mixed veggies (broccolli, cauliflower, carrots, and/or whatever you have on hand) OR 4 cups worth washed and cut up into bite size pieces (I normally dice carrots into thin coins since they tend to take longer to cook).
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1/2 cup of dried green lentils (if you planned ahead and soaked it overnight that will save you some simmer time) otherwise, I compensate by just turning up the heat. I‘ve also used canned beans (any kind you like, I’ve used chickpeas) before too, gave them a good rinse and tossed it in with the fresh veggies.
- 1 – 28oz. can of skinned whole tomatoes
- Frozen or bunch of fresh spinach.
- 6 -8 cups of water (I like to fill a big pot about half full)
- Optional: two beef or vegetable bouillon cubes (I’ve omitted them before and it tasted fine).
- 1-2 bay leaves
- sea salt to taste.
I like to prep as I cook so my steps will be like that. However, if you like to have everything prepared before you begin boiling the water, go right ahead with whatever you prefer.
- Dice onions
- Lay out dried lentils and pick out the dried pieces. If you already soaked the lentils you can skip this step altogether and it will cut down on your simmer time.
- Wash and rinse spinach thoroughly. Then I chop off the stems and chop into bite size strips.
- Add a bit of olive oil to the pot and turn up the heat to medium.
- When the pot has warmed, add the diced onions and stir fry until they are soft and translucent. Alternatively, you can use a pan to fry the onions and transfer them to a big pot. I don’t like to do that to cut down on washing one more thing.
- Fill a big pot with water about half full and bring it to a boil.
- When water comes to a boil, stir in bouillion cubes (if using) and break it up.
- Add canned tomatoes (crush using your hand and pour in all the juices), bay leaves, lentils into the pot and let it come to a boil again. Once it comes to a boil, let the pot simmer for about 45 mins on medium-high with the lid on (I usually leave the lid slightly ajar so some steam can escape). Stir occasionally.
- Next, check if the lentils are ready. If it isn’t, continue simmering until you taste a few and they are done.
- When lentils are getting softer, but insides are a still a bit hard, add in any carrots and fresh vegetables (if you are using).
- When lentils are done, add frozen vegetables (if you are using), spinach (or any other leafy greens you like). Simmer for about 3-5 mins, season with sea salt and serve.
I usually cook this once and manage to get about 4-6 servings out of it.
Hope you enjoy it!
What are your favourite soups? Let me know if you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it.