Vegetarian (or not) Lentil-Veggie Soup

It was a freezing late July day (go figure) and I was longing for some warm comfort food since it was already feeling and smelling like fall. What? Nooooooooo!
I grabbed the half bag of French (or Puy) lentils that have been sitting around for a while, some carrots that had seen better days and the half a leftover zucchini and started throwing it all in a pot. The result: A hearty, filling, and good-for-you soup.

The ingredients:

3 carrots, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder if your garlic is shriveled             like mine was)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1 tbsp. ketchup or tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
1¾ cups french lentils
5 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 cup of potatoes, cooked and diced
shredded cheese, yogurt, or sour cream for topping
***You could also add ham or cooked bacon to this soup for the meat eaters

Sauté the carrots, onion, zucchini, garlic and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed or cast iron pot for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato, tomato paste, salt and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the lentils and water and cook for 20 minutes or so until the lentils are done.
Stir in the vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and potatoes and cook another 10 minutes.
Garnish with piles of cheese or other tasty goodness.

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