Sophia’s Lentil Soup
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ½ stalks celery, chopped (set leaves aside for near end of cooking)
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, left whole
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 2 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 cube bouillon
- 2 cups (plus) water, boiling temperature
- Salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp salt)
Prepared by Doreen Kool
- Using medium low heat, heat oil and add onion. Cook onion for 3 to 4 minutes until it begins to turn translucent or clear. Add the chopped celery and carrot, reserving celery leaves until the end. Sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add lentils to coat lentils with oil. Stir in whole garlic.
- Dissolve bouillon cube in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir water into lentil mixture. Add bay leaves. Be certain that the amount of water is sufficient to cover the lentils. Return to a soft boil and continue to cook at a gentle boil (low heat). Place lid on pan.
- Stir and check water level periodically. ** The first time you add more water, also add the tomato. Add approximately one cup boiling water to cover lentil mixture to at least ½ inch or 1 cm liquid over lentils.
- Near end, add celery leaves. Season with salt and pepper. When lentils are desired softness turn off heat. Soup can sit for a while. Before serving, remove bay leaves.
**As the lentils cook and absorb liquid you will need to add water to cover the lentil mixture. Cooking time varies depending on the freshness and size of the lentils. Expect to cook for a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, begin to taste for texture and doneness.
- Use green or brown lentils and, where there is a size range, choose the small ones. Small lentils have the advantage of getting tender faster. Red lentils will turn to mush.
- Place lentils in a shallow bowl and, although rare, check for small stones, dry and dark lentils, and other foreign materials.
- Onions add sweetness. Tender celery leaves (ones that are younger and pale) have a great amount of flavour.
- Coarse chop makes a more rustic soup while finely chopped creates a delicate soup.
- In place of fresh tomatoes use: 1 cup tinned diced tomato with juice; ½ cup tomato passata; ¼ cup tomato paste. You can buy tomatoes on clearance and core, blanch, peel and freeze for later use.
- Oil: traditionally olive oil is used but any oil will work.
- Rather than adding ingredients all in one, adding in stages will “layer” the flavours.”
- Purchase any bouillon you prefer. The higher quality cubes have less salt—this gives you the advantage of being able to control the amount of salt.
- Flavour additions: simmer in parmesan rind (equivalent to a heaping tablespoon). Add spices such as cumin, coriander, and hot pepper flakes for a different vibe.
Lentils are an inexpensive way of getting a wide variety of nutrients!
- Made up of more than 25% protein, lentils are an excellent meat alternative and source of iron for vegetarian diets.
- 1 cup of cooked lentils generally provides 18 grams of plant-based protein and 15.6 grams of fibre.
- Fiber supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
- Lentils contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, many of which protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Some of the polyphenols in lentils, such as flavanols, are known to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
- Lentils are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium