Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lentil Love

I thought I'd cap off Wellness Week with this nutritional powerhouse of a soup. Leeks are an excellent source of vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and folate, and are a mild diuretic, which we could all use this time of year.  Lentils are protein-rich, and packed with dietary fiber, B-vitamins, folate and minerals.  Sweet potatoes and carrots are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as beta-carotene.  This Sunday Soup is easy to make, filling, and so delicious, you won't even realize it is health food.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups red lentils
6 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 bay leaf
salt, pepper, oregano and paprika to taste
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until it shimmers.  Add the leeks and saute gently over low heat for about 10 minutes, until they wilt and begin to caramelize.
2.  Add the sweet potatoes and carrots, stir to combine, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Add the sugar and continue stirring.
3.  Add the lentils and stir all ingredients to combine.

4.  Add all of the broth, the bay leaf, and some oregano and paprika (start with about a heaping teaspoon of each, and you can adjust the seasonings at the end).  Stir well.
5. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low, and allow the soup to simmer until the lentils and veggies are cooked and the broth is well-absorbed, about 45 minutes.
6.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

I should say that all of my soup recipes tend to serve about 8: a bowl each for 2 for lunch or dinner on Sunday when you cook it, and then enough for 2 people to take for lunch for most of the next week (at least that's how it shakes out around here).  I love having easy, healthy, grab-and-go lunches ready for the week on a Sunday night; just one less thing to think about once the crazy work week begins.  For today, football is on, the little guy is asleep, there is snow on the ground, and a fire in the stove.  I took a long trail run with the dog yesterday, and feel I've earned a little couch potato time.  Bring it! Life is good. 
Happy, healthy Sunday!


  1. made it. loved it. saved the rest for the week. now i am wondering if you have any tips for keeping it from getting too thick over time. add water? broth? does heating it thin it back out at all? any favorite sides with this? crusty fresh bread?

  2. yum! i know what i will be cooking tonight.

  3. Abs- heating it thins it back out, but you could add a bit of water if it is still to thick. Sides: kashi crackers, great bread with cultured butter, fresh corn muffins, a classic T&J grilled cheese?

    Saucy - it is totally doable for a weeknight!
    I miss you!

  4. yum! made this for papa's b-day dinner. served the lentils over brown basmati along side beets with red wine vinegar and topped with feta, and chopped steamed broccli with lemon and butter. healthy and delicious indeed sweet mama jane!