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Vegetable Lentil Soup <T>

This recipe lends itself very well to reheating.  It serves four easily,
and depending on how hungry my husband is, I usually get leftovers from it

Easy Vegetable Lentil Soup 

 Your favorite ff sauteeing liquid 
 1/2 large onion, diced
 1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
 2 stalks celery, diced
 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
 2 large carrots, diced
 2 medium red potatoes, skins on, diced
 3/4 cup lentils, rinsed well and drained
 1-2 brocolli stems, peeled and diced
 3/4-1 cup frozen corn
 1/2 chipotle pepper (dried not canned) crushed (OPTIONAL)
 32-oz jar V-8 juice (sodium reduced works fine) 
 salt and pepper to taste 
 Water or a lightly-flavored vegetable broth
 Vecon or other concentrated vegetable bullion (OPTIONAL)

In a very hot dutch oven (preferrably non-stick), heat the sauteeing
liquid, and saute the onion, red or green bell pepper and celery.  Stir
often to avoid burning but let them caramelize.  Once they begin to get
translucent, add the garlic, carrots, and brocolli stems.  Saute for a few

Add the rinsed, drained lentils, and 1/2 cup v-8 juice and 1/2 cup water
or vegetable broth.  OPTIONAL: add vegetable bullion at this point if
desired. Add salt and pepper to taste and a tiny pinch of the crushed
chipotle pepper.   Note: You don't have to use salt at all...I use tiny
bits of kosher salt in this soup...no more than 1/4 tsp for the entire

Let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the diced potato and
frozen corn.  Add 1 cup each v-8 juice and water.  Taste the mixture and
add more salt, pepper, and chipotle pepper.

Let this simmer for 10 minutes.  You may need to add more liquid depending
on how thin you like the broth.  The soup is done when lentils are cooked
but not mushy and potatoes are firm but not mushy.

Serve with home-made whole wheat bread.

Options:  Use sweet potato in addition or instead of the red potato
          Add 1/2 box frozen chopped spinach
          Use tomato sauce instead of V-8 juice