Week 1: Lentil Soup

Let’s make some lentils! We also made our own veggie broth and so can you!

Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:

  • Veggie scraps (about half a gallon bag)
  • Water
  • Herbs (I put what we used below)
    • ½ tsp rosemary
    • ½ tsp thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
  1. Collect any veggie scraps you have until you fill at least half of a gallon ziplock bag. The best scraps usually include the following:
  • Anything onion related, especially the peels (garlic, scallions, onions, scallots, etc)
  • Any part of root vegetables (carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, ginger)
  • Celery and bok choy are especially good additions
  • Squash peels (omit the pits and seeds → save the seeds for roasting if you want!)
  • Other additions include asparagus, cabbage, peppers (cautious for hot peppers though), brussel sprouts
    • Try to avoid leafy greens like lettuce and spinach
  1. Put veggies in a large pot with enough water to generously cover your vegetables. This is variable depending on how much broth you want to make. We put about 1½ – 2 liters.
    1. Bring the water and veggies to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer you simmer the vegetables, the stronger the flavor and color will develop. I usually look for the broth to be dark enough that you can see the color when you pick some of it up with a spoon, but you can go according to your own taste.
    2. After the initial boil, this is the time to add seasonings and salt. Dried and fresh herbs make great additions, but you can add any spices or herbs your heart desires. I highly recommend any combination of the following:
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaves (max 1.5 leaves)
  • Fennel seeds
  • Oregano 
  • You may also experiment with cloves and star anise if you’re looking for more of a autumn-y profile
  1. Be mindful that the amount of salt and seasonings added now will limit the spices you add later. I would recommend no more than 1 ½ tablespoons of total seasonings for two liters of broth. Everything here goes by taste, so taste it frequently while cooking.
    1. Troubleshooting tips:
      1. If the broth needs to be sweetened, try adding squash peels, carrots or bell peppers
      2. If it doesn’t seem to have enough flavor, add more salt. It brings out the flavor much more, ut keep in mind to use less salt when cooking with it later on.
  2. Strain through a strainer or cheesecloth, or just pour very carefully into a container of your choice until future use. 

Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups lentils, washed
  • 2 tbs olive oil (or cooking oil)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil*
  • hefty amount of black pepper
  • Optional: 2 tbs tomato paste or 1 14-oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 cups broth (depending on thickness)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or 2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
  • Salt to taste

How to make:

  1. Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook stirring occasionally for 7-10 min. Do this until the onions are translucent and sweet! Note: you can totally use other vegetables or canned vegetables in this process. If you use canned vegetables, don’t put them in the pot until after your onions fully sweated.
  3. Add tomato (if you have it), red pepper flakes, black pepper and basil and stir for about 30 seconds. *Note: we heavily added herbs to our broth, so I didn’t feel the need to add any more spices or herbs to the soup. If you want to add more herbs, I recommend either a mix of rosemary, thyme, and basil, OR paprika, cumin and chili pepper. 
  4. Add lentils and broth, bring to a boil, and back down to a simmer. Cover the pot! Simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the lentils are soft and cooked through.
  5. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and squeeze your lemon (or apple cider vinegar) into your soup. 
  6. Optional: take a few cups of your soup and blend them up in a blender. We have a stick blender so we used that.
  7. Enjoy! Right now. Do it. Everybody’s doing it come on you’re the only one who’s not doing it.

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