I remember the first time I tasted Lentil Soup. It was about 35-years ago, and I was on my first visit to the little mining town of Jerome. It was lunchtime and we went downstairs into a little Bohemian café. The day’s offering was Lentil Soup. I had never eaten this soup and I was a little reluctant but ordered it anyway. I was pleasantly surprised and hunted around for a recipe that would mimic this good taste and have the satisfying good flavors I experienced then. It wasn’t until 1992 that I saw a recipe in Good Housekeeping and modified it somewhat until it was just the way we like it. It is chock-full of delicious, healthy ingredients, has almost no cholesterol, is low in calories (without the breadsticks or rolls) and is easy to make. I have tried to add sausage or kielbasa, but it makes the broth too greasy. So let's forget that suggestion.

With the cold days ahead of us, you may desire something to warm your innards and satisfy your taste buds. I know you will enjoy this filling meal.

Lentil Soup with Vegetables

Ingredients

2 medium-sized carrots

2 medium-sized celery stalks

1 medium-sized onion

3/4 pound small red potatoes

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 14-1/2 to 16-ounce can Italian style stewed tomatoes

1 cup dry lentils

2 14-1/2-ounce cans chicken broth

3 cups water

1 bunch spinach (or 1 10-ounce box frozen whole spinach leaves, or cut-up spinach, defrosted)

7-8 large fresh mushrooms, sliced (or canned stems and pieces will be okay)

Method

  1. Dice carrots, celery, and onion; cut potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces (you do not need to peel, just wash); mince garlic. In 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, in hot olive oil, cook carrots, celery, and onion until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook, stirring, just until garlic begins to brown.
  1. Stir in stewed tomatoes with their liquid, dry lentils, chicken broth, potatoes and water; stir with spoon to break up tomatoes. Using high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; add mushrooms; cover and simmer about 50 minutes.
  1. While soup is simmering, thinly slice spinach leaves (or be sure the frozen variety is defrosted). About 5 minutes before serving, stir the spinach into the soup in the Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach wilts.
  1. Serve soup with breadsticks, or sourdough rolls, if you like. Makes 5 main-dish servings. Each serving is about 2 cups, if you can resist having more. I like mine sprinkled with Parmesan cheese on top.