Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lentil Soup

One way to be healthy on a budget is to eat beans and legumes.  Usually a one pound bag costs somewhere around a dollar, maybe even less.  I'd always wanted to try cooking with lentils, so we've done it a few times recently, and they're quite tasty!  What is a lentil, you might ask?  It comes from this plant:

Where can you buy lentils?  I got mine at the grocery store, in the aisle with Mexican food (not sure why they were here).  They usually are with the other dried beans, or you can buy them in bulk at natural food stores.

Lentils are not really beans, but are considered part of the legume family, and specifically called 'pulses'.  They are delicious and, I discovered, are just behind soybeans with a protein level of 26%.  What better way to eat them than in a soup?

Lentil Soup
1 onion
3/4 cup sliced carrots
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound smoked sausage
4 cups chicken broth
8 cups water
1 lb. bag of lentils
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt

Dice the onion:
(Someone recently asked me how I do this, so I'm going to walk you through the best way I've found to do this).
First, cut off both ends of the onion, aka top and bottom (it's easier to remove the skins if both ends are cut).

Then, remove the skins.  Once the skin is removed, slice the onion in half, from top to bottom.  Next, lay onion half on your cutting board, flat side down.

Slice into strips.

Then, rotate all of the slices, and slice in opposite direction.  (Repeat with second half).

In large pot, melt the butter.

I love how butter slides in the pan as it's melting.  This just means that whatever you're cooking is going to taste that much better because it includes butter.

Add diced onions and carrots.

Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onions are a bit tender.  While this is cooking, slice the sausage and then add to the vegetable mixture.
This is what I used and the 'Lite' didn't make a difference.  There are usually coupons for this in the paper, so look for it on sale.  If you can't get smoked sausage where you live, I'm sure that Italian sausage, ground beef, or even cooked chicken would taste fine in this soup. 

Cook for another 2-3 minutes, just so the sausage can get slightly browned.

Rinse lentils, and drain (follow the directions on your package of lentils).

Add lentils, diced tomatoes*, broth, water, garlic powder, bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, and salt.
Yes, this is a different pot.  After I put the broth in, I realized there wouldn't be enough room so I opted for the larger stock pot. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Cook for about an hour, or until lentils are tender.  Serve with a crusty baguette.

*I recommend always having at least two cans of diced tomatoes in your pantry.  They are great in different kinds of soups, and fairly inexpensive.  So, next time you're stocking up, grab whatever cans are on sale!


  1. I remember being really surprised at how much I enjoyed eating this soup (for someone who doesn't like cooked veggies or too many soups, for that matter). Thanks for posting the recipe; I'd like to try it some time!

  2. Made this and LOVED it! It was perfect for a stuffy head, rainy day meal :).
    It made a lot so we have had leftovers for lunch too. Thanks for posting such yummy recipes. I will be making your pizza crust tonight and your cheesy broccoli soup next week!


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