Recipe: Lentil + Vegetable Soup

Before today, it rained three days in a row.  Non-stop rain.  Gloomy, drizzly, dark-morning rain.  The kind of rain that makes it impossible for normal people to break that warm bed barrier, the kind of rain that forces you to spend an extra 5, 10, 20 minutes under the covers.  Or, since I’m not normal and I love rain, the kind that makes me jump out of bed 5, 10, 20 minutes early to peer through the window shades with a dumb smile on my face.  It is also known as SOUP WEATHER.  Yesssssss.

Because do you know what else I love besides rain?  And vinegar?  And Glen?  And kittens?

Have you guessed yet?


Here’s my first fall soup recipe, and my first foray into the wide world of lentils.  I might also be falling in love with lentils.  The jury is still out, but this soup was delicious — it has cauliflower in it!  Enjoy!

Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Lentil + Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 large onion, diced
8oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded + chopped
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded + chopped*
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2/3 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup red lentils (or just regular, sort of green (?) lentils, if your grocery store sucks like mine does)
1 large zucchini, quartered + chopped
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
salt and pepper

*Don’t know how to peel a tomato (or, more likely, don’t want to)?  Score a small X in the tomato’s base, and drop it in boiling water for 5 or 10 seconds (the skin will start to come away on its own).  Remove from the water and peel from the X.  Don’t leave them in the water for too long, lest you risk compromising their structural integrity, which you’ll completely understand if you leave them in the water for too long — trust me here.  Also, I didn’t seed them because, honestly, who cares?  But I’m sure cutting them in half and giving them a good squeeze would do the trick.  Alternatively?  Just buy a 28oz can of plum tomatoes and roughly chop them — the juices would probably be great in this recipe, too.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot.  Add the garlic and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 3 minutes, until slightly softened.  Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring.  Pour in the stock and red wine, then add the cauliflower, carrot and lentils.  Season with pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.

Add the zucchini and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in the shredded basil and cook for another 5 minutes, then removed from the heat and ladle into bowls.  Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

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