EASY WEEKNIGHT DINNER - LENTIL SOUP WITH VEGETABLES

Last night for dinner, I made Ina Garten's Lentil Vegetable Soup from her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  It was the perfect soup for a busy fall weeknight because it was quick to make, healthy and delicious.  I had plenty of leftovers, which I love and I'm sure this soup gets better as it sits, giving the flavors a chance to really meld together.

The ingredients are simple and healthy, including lentils, leeks, onions, carrots, celery, cumin, tomato paste (not pictured), vegetable or chicken broth, garlic and Parmesan cheese.

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The lentils need to soak in boiling water before being added to the soup.

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Saute the onions, leeks and garlic together.

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After the onions and leeks have softened, add the carrots and celery.

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After adding the vegetable broth, simmer the soup for an hour or until the lentils are tender.

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The finished product, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of really good olive oil!

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Ina Garten's Lentil Vegetable Soup

from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 pound French green lentils

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)

4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)1/4 cup good olive oil plus additional for drizzling on top

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)

3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Drain.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.  Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.  Add the stock, tomato paste, and lentils.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, until the lentils are cooked through.  Check the seasonings.  Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

I love soup anytime!  I hope you enjoy!