Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Italian Red Lentil Noodle Soup

It's soup season again. Happy first day of Autumn! I have been looking forward to fall for more than a few reasons.... cooler weather, squash, applesauce, and of course the birth of my baby (10 days till d-day now). But today, I'm just thinking about how a bowl of some yummy soup would really kick the season off right.

Well, maybe not today because we are having a heat wave for a day at 83 degrees, but last weekend when I made this soup for a group of close friends it was the perfect meal to share together to stay warm on a cool almost-fall night. There is something very comforting about a hearty bowl of soup with some fresh bread. Yes, I said bread. I really did make a crusty loaf of gluten-free bread to pair with this lovely soup... I will have to share that recipe next because it really turned out wonderfully.

Red lentils are one of my favorite forms of a "legume" because they are so easy to use. You can cook them for under 30 minutes from the dry form and you have them ready to eat. Which is perfect for busy people, but you are not compromising on nutrition goodness. If you are new to using legumes from the dry form, I would definitely recommend using the red lentil to start out. It is easy and has always turned out yummy in so many recipes. I have made red lentil tacos, and red lentil burgers, and now this is one of my favorite ways to use red lentils in soup. It makes a thick and almost creamy broth and of course you are getting a wonderful dose of protein and fiber without having to indulge in any dairy or meat. So a vegan's favorite for sure, but really, a great soup for all lovers of a hearty bowl of goodness.

Italian Red lentil Noodle Soup Recipe
2-3 TB of olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 large yellow onion finely chopped
1 heaping cup of finely chopped celery
2 cups of chopped carrot pieces
2 cups of chopped parsnips pieces
4 cups of vegetable broth
4 cups of pure water
1 1/2 cups of dried red lentils
1 14.5 ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juices
handful of each fresh herb: basil, thyme, sage
1/2 cup of brown rice pasta (broken up spaghetti noodles, or any size or shape you desire)
1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1 cup of fresh chopped spinach or kale leaves

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, and celery with the olive oil for a few minutes until they are soft and almost translucent. Then add the carrots, parsnips, and the broth, and water. Bring up to a boil and then add the lentils, and roasted tomatoes. Once it cooks at a boil for 5-10 minutes, turn down to a medium heat and cook for another 20-30 minutes. You will notice the lentils breaking down and becoming a part of the broth. Then add the pasta in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking to cook the pasta, then add the fresh herbs, parsley and spinach to wilt in the last minutes. You will know the soup is ready for eating when the pasta is cooked and the herbs and spinach is well cooked and blended. Serve warm from the pot, or share with friends, or save for a few days to come. This soup also freezes very well if you want to save it for a future meal. If you want to add dairy and top the soup with some Parmesan cheese, or serve with crackers or bread to add more crunch.
I made this crusty gluten-free french type bread to pair with the hearty soup and it turned out better than I thought it would.... So start drooling now, and I will share the recipe in my next post. I hope you try this soup out soon and enjoy.

Have a beautiful first-day-of-fall! Much love to you!



1 comment:

  1. Hooray for soup season! This looks comforting and lovely. And that bread! Wow.