Monday, November 28, 2011

Clean Out the Fridge Lentil Soup

No oil. No Salt. Just lots of lentils, veggies, herbs, and love.  
My grandma makes a Lentil Soup that everyone raves about. She probably uses a turkey neck or something (she tends to put them in all kinds of "vegetarian" soups, but I'm on to her now!). I never liked it growing up, but now I've come to love Lentil Soup. I love how one bowl fills me up while a lot of other soups have me going back for bowl after bottomless bowl. For the first dinner of my easy detox week, Lentil Soup seemed like a good way to start.

I started by cleaning out the fridge. There were lots of veggies left from the last time I went to the farmers market (2 weeks ago!). I grabbed 1 yellow onion, 1 large carrot, 1 large parsnip, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 small green pepper (left from my garden!), 2 small stalks of celery, and 1 rutabagas that was past it's prime.
Cleaned out the fridge and used all these veggies!
I also found some kale that was on it's way to the compost bin if I didn't cook it immediately. I try to incorporate kale into meals wherever I can and put it in soups all the time (James doesn't love kale, but he's learning to like it now that I've learned to disguise it).
Kale. I sneak it in to whatever I can!
I rinsed 2 cups of lentils and put them in a medium pot over medium-high heat with 4 cups of water and a piece of kombu (kelp).  I brought the lentils to a gentle boil, reduced the heat, and simmered covered for about 15 minutes. While the lentils were cooking, I put 1 quart of low-sodium organic vegetable broth in a large pot and dumped all the veggies and 1 bay leaf in it. I brought it to a gentle boil and reduced the heat before adding the lentils (discard the kombu). I simmered them together for a bit longer and added some more water (I like my soup brothy, but this is entirely up to you). Just before serving, I stirred in some finely chopped fresh rosemary, parsley, basil, and thyme as well as some dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and freshly ground black pepper. 
Lentil Soup and a Baked Potato. Healthy Dinner. Served.
I served the soup with baked potatoes that I had sliced in the middle before baking. I sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper and some fresh thyme and rosemary on each half and matched the halves back up. Then I wrapped the potatoes in some tin foil and baked them at 425 for around 45 minutes (I popped these in the oven before rinsing the lentils and by the time the soup was done, they were *almost* ready).

How I changed this recipe from what I would normally do to make it healthier and detox-friendly:
I simply omitted oil and salt. That's it. Usually, I would saute the onions, celery, carrot before adding the broth and the rest of the ingredients. I'd also probably add some oil or butter to the middle of the potato. I might add some Parmesan cheese or extra virgin olive oil to my soup bowl. But not this time! And to tell you the truth, I didn't really miss any of that added fat or salt. This meal was very satisfying!