If you want a nice warming soup at very little cost or effort, this recipe is for you. Unlike their cousins, split peas, lentils do not create a thick, mushy soup. Lentils should be cooked until very tender, which takes less than one hour.
Traditionally flavored with a ham bone, this is a vegetarian variation that relies on the lemon and celery for the best flavoring. It’s a great soup to ward off cold and rain in winter months, or for a light summer supper or lunch. You can easily add more vegetables as desired.
Easy Lentil Soup
2 cups green or brown lentils
2 qt. water
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. salt (or less)
¼ tsp. black pepper
slices of lemon and sprigs of washed parsley for garnish
1) Wash the lentils in a strainer and pick out any tiny stones or debris. In a large pot, simmer the lentils in the water for about 20 to 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sauté the onion, celery and herbs in the oil in a skillet over medium heat until golden yet crisp. You can also add carrots and green leafy veggies if desired. Add the vegetables to the soup pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
3) Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet and then blend in 2 Tbsp of all-purpose flour. Add a little of the broth to thin the paste, then blend the whole mixture into the rest of the soup.
4) Simmer for a final 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. That’s it! You’re done.
Top each serving with a lemon slice and garnish with a parsley sprig. Serve with warm cornbread (recipe follows) and butter, maybe a salad and a chunk of your favorite cheese. Heaven!
Best Ever Cornbread Recipe
¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt.
1-¼ cups blue cornmeal
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (optional)
1) In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal.
2) In a small bowl or glass measure, mix the melted butter, yogurt and maple syrup.
3) Blend the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until the moisture is absorbed. Blend in the walnuts and corn, if using.
4) Pour the batter into a buttered pie pan or a 10” cast iron skillet, and bake at 425º F for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and a tester comes out clean. Serve hot.