Tag Archives: lentils

Lentil and Carrot Ginger Soup

Sometimes you just have to cheat. Not cheat other people or cheat in the sense of doing something wrong. I mean cheat by not making everything from scratch. Making my Lentil and Carrot Ginger Soup was one of those times I decided to cheat. At least, partially. This soup is a combination of dried lentils and a box of carrot and ginger soup.

I am not usually a fan of boxed soups but Trader Joe’s has a nice brand of soups I have used in other recipes upon occasion. I have passed over their Carrot and Ginger soup many times but decided to take a chance on combining it with the lentil soup I make for me and hubby.

Creating soup is about building flavors. Combining the light flavor of lentils with the sweet taste of carrots along with the sharp taste of ginger spells yummy. Being the carnivore that I am, I added diced pancetta to build even more flavor. My vegetarian brethern can keep it simple and not include meat in this soup. But, if you are not opposed to meat, I think you will enjoy the flavors and texture with the pancetta. Add some crusty bread on the side of your bowl and you will have a wonderful hearty soup for those chilly or even warm days.

Lentil and Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth

1 ½ – 2 cups dried yellow lentils (rinsed in cold water)

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup cubed pancetta (optional)

½ cup diced onions

1 box Carrot Ginger Soup (Trader Joe’s)

1tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp ground black pepper

½ tbsp Adobo seasoning

1 tsp dried parsley

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Place olive oil, pancetta, onions and carrots in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the carrots, onions and pancetta for about 3 – 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add broth, seasonings and lentils to the pot and let simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the soup gets too thick during the 30 minutes. After 30 minutes stir in the box of carrot and ginger soup. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread or croutons.

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Lentil Stew

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Don’t ask me why but I have had lentils on my mind for the past week. I think it was because I wanted to make some red lentil soup and discovered I didn’t have any lentils. Since I usually find them at Trader Joe’s I had to wait until my weekend ritual of running errands to be on that side of town. Once I got to the store and spotted the red lentils I also spotted green lentils which made me think of a Lentil Stew. Again, I don’t know why.

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Sometimes my imagination kicks in and I just come up with ideas for combinations of food. For the Lentil Stew I thought of carrots, potatoes and tomatoes as the right combination of vegetables to add to the lentils to make a stew. Yes, a stew not a soup. To me, stews are a little heartier than a soup even more than those soups that are thick and packed with vegetables. Stews have a slightly different consistency than soups and are surrounded by a kind of gravy. In the case of Lentil Stew it makes its own gravy.

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Lentil Stew is the type of dish I would make during the winter or on chilly fall days. Granted, the day I first made this stew it was not really chilly but there was a nice gentle breeze. Now that I have tested out the recipe, I know what I will be preparing it quite often when the gentle breezes turn into strong cold winds.

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Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

1 pkg green lentils (soak overnight in cold water then drain)

½ cup red lentils (optional)

½ cup shredded carrots (slightly chop)

2 cans roasted diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

2 small potatoes diced

2 scallions diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp minced garlic

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp basil

¼ tsp ground ginger

Add lentils and water to a large pot. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer while preparing vegetables.

In a large frying pan add olive oil and potatoes over medium high heat. Season potatoes with a little salt and pepper. Saute potatoes until slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium then add onions, carrots, tomatoes and remaining seasonings to the potatoes. Stir and allow veggies to soften. Add veggies and chicken broth to lentils and stir. Allow stew to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Taste to determine if you need more salt. Add additional broth if stew is too thick.

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Red Split Lentil Soup

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Simple says it best when making homemade soup. Red Split Lentil soup is a nice comfort food on cold days or any day you want something quick and easy to make. It takes only 6 simple ingredients to make this soup and it tastes great with a piece of crusty buttered bread. Of course the wonderful thing about this soup is that it is full of vitamin C and is heart healthy.

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When it comes to soups I like to experience the different textures and layers of taste. This Red Split Lentil soup is smooth yet has layers of subtle textures from the carrots, onions, peppers and diced bacon. If you are not a fan of pork you can substitute it with smoked turkey or go meatless.

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I was surprised when my youngest son was eager to try lentil soup. Most kids hear the word lentil and immediately make a face followed by “blah”. I guess the day I made the lentil soup was one of his more adventurous days. Surprisingly, he loved it even with the cooked carrots which he claims to dislike immensely. My son reminds me of a character in a book I recently read called “The Housekeeper and the Professor” by Yoko Ogawa. In the book, the housekeeper is constantly trying to find new ways to hide carrots in the professor’s meals but he always seemed to find them.

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Adding lots of vegetables to soups are a great way to get kids (and some adults) to eat veggies and develop their taste buds for new foods. Start with a simple soup and then pair it with something they like. Try a sandwich, crackers or warm crusty bread. They will not be able to resist.

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Red Split Lentil Soup

Ingredients:
1 16 oz bag of red split lentils
2 strips of bacon diced
1 10 oz bag of shredded carrots
2 green scallions sliced
½ medium onion diced
½ red pepper diced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp parsley
½ tsp dill
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Over medium high heat, slightly brown bacon in a large pot until fat is rendered. Add onions and scallions sauteing until soft. Add red peppers, carrots and seasonings. Stir to mix veggies then add bay leaf, chicken broth and water. Let simmer about 5 minutes then add red split lentils and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the lentils are soft. Approximately 30 minutes. Remember to stir the soup to make sure the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pot. If necessary, add additional broth to thin out the soup and ensure the lentils are cooked.

Serve with a piece of crusty bread and enjoy!

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