Cozy Lentil Soup

IMG_2488Hi everyone– It rained!!  It finally rained– all through the night and pounding showers early this morning.  Our drought riddled yard was soaking it up.  The suns come out now, but there are still drips dropping from the trees and drops speckling our windows.  All at once, everything feels so fresh and new.

Just the day for some lentil soup.  Love this because it’s so easy– Ten minutes to throw it into the pot and then just wait while it simmers for half an hour.  And bacon.  It has bacon.
It makes a nice big potful– we’ll be having leftovers in lunches this week…

COZY LENTIL SOUP
4 strips of bacon
2 tab. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2  14 oz. cans petit cut tomatoes with onion & garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 cups lentils
salt & pepper to taste

granish–sour cream, cilantro or green onions, chopped, freshly ground pepper

Cut the strips of bacon into small bits.  Brown them in the bottom of your soup pot.  Remove them to a paper towel.  Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Heat the olive oil in the pot.  Drop in the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Then add in the garlic and peppers and cook 3 minutes more.

Add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, cumin paprika, cumin and lentils.  Simmer on low for 35 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Put the bacon back in just before serving.

Serve it up hot topped with a spoonful of sour cream, and a little something green for pretty.

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions & Pine Nuts

IMG_2019Hello friends– I’m eating the leftovers of this savory dish right now as I type of this post!  When I saw this recipe on MM’s yummy blog, I knew Larry would like it.  So I made a big pan full for a late supper last night.  It’s one of those cozy, honest kinds of food that taste just right for  a quiet evening tucked in at home.

MM is an Australian mom, living now in Sweden.  I think you might really like her healthy eating blog– Miss Marzipan!

LENTILS AND RICE WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS & PINE NUTS
1 cup rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup green lentils
1 red onion, chopped to bits (about 2 cups)
2 tab. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted*
salt & freshly

Cook the rice according to the directions on your package. (I simmer it with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt for 10 minutes)

Cook the lentils in 2 cups of water for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are tender.  Then drain off any extra water in a sieve.

While those two are cooking away, Heat the olive oil in a large pan and throw in the red onion.  Cook the onion bits 8 to 10 minutes until they are thoroughly soft and caramelized.
Then add in the cumin and and 1/4 cup water and stir to blend.  Turn off the heat.

When the lentils and rice are thoroughly cooked mix them into the onions in the large pan along with the cilantro and pine nuts.  Taste to see if you want to add a little salt & pepper.

Serve it up warm and hearty with a nice chunk of sturdy bread and a colorful salad.  Dinner!

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

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Hello there– Is it still soup weather where you live?  After  a warm winter here, it’s dipping down into the 60’s this week– and it’s suppose to rain today!!  Boy, do we need rain.
So to celebrate our chilly, soggy day ahead, here’s a nice light soup–sounds about right for a drizzly spring day.

COCONUT CURRY LENTIL SOUP
2 cups lentils
splash olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut to bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
7 cups water
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. yellow curry powder
14 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 tab. lime juice
lime slices & cilantro for garnish

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot.  When it’s hot, throw in the onion.  Cook it 3 to 4 minutes until the onion bits cook through.  Then add in the red pepper and garlic.  Cook 3 minutes more.

Pour in the tomato sauce, water, coconut milk, curry powder, garbanzo beans and lentils.  Bring it to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

When you’re ready to serve it up hot, add in the lime juice and top each bowl with some sprigs of cilantro.

Lentil Chili

IMG_7062Hey Chili Lovers–  Lentil chili?  Yep lentils.  I have a soft spot for those things.  The years we lived in Spain, we shared pots of lentils and chorizo with Spanish friends along with chunks of hearty Spanish bread.  Wish I could sit around the table with Jose Maria and Carmen and talk over a bowl of lentils.

This is a decidedly un-Spanish version of lentils, but still delicious and pretty quick to put together for a chilly weekday dinner.  Spicy good.

LENTIL CHILI
onion yellow onion, chopped
splash of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 14 oz. can chili beans (not rinsed)
2 14 oz. cans petit  cut tomatoes (with onion & garlic)
2 cups dry lentils
1 tab. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
for garmish– grated cheddar, tortilla chips, green onion, avocado, sour cream, cilantro…  (take your pick)

Heat the olive oil in your soup pot.   Drop in the onion bits and cook until they begin to brown.  Then add in the garlic, red peppers, chili beans (with their sauce), tomatoes, lentils, chili powder, cumin, salt and 8 cups of water.  Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Serve it up with a couple little bowls of happy toppings to add  in and a pan of cornbread to have alongside.

P.S.— I think these tasted better a couple days later as leftovers after the flavors could really meld together.

Roasted Pepper & Lentil Soup

IMG_5060Hi there– I’m so excited!  It’s nippy outside and yesterday we even had a real splash of rain!  (not so common here in southern CA).  A friend dropped off a load of firewood last night and I snuggled under a quilt to read on the sofa.  All that it say, it is officially soup weather!!

Here’s one that it simple and lean, filling and savory.  Just add a fire in the fireplace and a sturdy loaf of bread and you’re set!

ROASTED PEPPER & LENTIL SOUP
3 tab. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped to tiny bits
2 cups orange (red) lentils
8 cups chicken broth
6 oz. jar roasted red peppers, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot.  Throw in the onion and cook until it’s tender and translucent.  Add in the garlic  and carrot cook a couple minutes more.  Stir in the lentils to coat them with the oil.  then add the broth, peppers, cumin and curry.  Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Keep checking them– too long will make them mushy!  Season with salt and pepper until it tastes just right.  And serve it up steaming hot!  Perfect.

Spicy Lentil Tacos

IMG_4487Hi all– If I had to eat one food every day for a month, I’m pretty sure I it would be tacos.  So many bright flavors scooped up into a tender little tortilla– Yep, I could eat them pretty much every day.  So here’s a new version to us– centered on savory lentils.  I’m thinking these spicy, savory things could go a lot of places–mixed with couscous or rice, into a salad for dinner, worked into a dip…  I think you may be seeing them again here.

SPICY LENTIL TACOS
1 tab. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown lentils
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced*
Corn tortillas
condiments– lettuce, chopped tomato, grated cheddar (or cortijo), sour cream, avocado, salsa, cilantro…

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Pour the olive oil into a hot pan and add the onion.  Stir and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion starts to brown.  Add in the garlic and cook another minute.  Then stir in the lentils and taco seasoning until it’s all blended.  Add the chicken broth, water and chipotle and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Toast the the tortillas lightly and scoopy those hot lentils across the middle.  Then layer all your favorite fixings.  And eat!

* Add more of less chipotle to meet your own person hot & spicy comfort level.

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage

IMG_8626Hi all–  I have never been so cold!!  We are having a record breaking cold spell here in California (I know, I know.  I’m getting no sympathy from my friends in Illinois and Michigan!)  But things went from bad to worse when our heater went out a couple days ago!  So it’s all about fuzzy socks and roaring fires in the fireplace here now.  And soup.  I’ve been making pot after pot of hot soup.  Here’s the latest…

LENTIL SOUP WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage*
1 onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped to bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. dried basil
8 oz. brown lentils
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
3 cups fresh spinach, sliced to bits

IMG_8647Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Then drop in the sausage, chopping the sausage as it cooks to small bits.  When it’s well browned, take out the sausage with a slotted spoon.  Then put in the onion and carrot and cook until they’re softened, for 3 or 4 minutes.  Then put in the garlic, rosemary and basil and stir to meld the flavors over medium heat for 2 minutes more.  Add the lentils, broth and water and bring to boil.  Then lower the heat and simmer it all for 25 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Mix in the sausage and spinach and cook 3 or 4 minutes longer until it’s all heated though and the spinach has wilted.

Serve it up piping hot with some shavings of parmesan on top and crunchy hot bread.  Its delicious, I promise.