Friday, September 11, 2009

Whatever You Want in It Soup

I've been on a bit of a soup kick lately, after discovering from a super awesome friend of mine (who definitely is not reading this and getting this reference at ALL) told me that you can reuse the water lentils are cooked in as broth. I was ridiculously excited, because I hate using bouillon powder as it's essentially a concentration of SALT!! with double exclamation marks. Suddenly I had a healthy broth alternative at my fingertips, oh the possibilities! (Clearly I need a life.) However, lentil broth only lasts for about two single-servings of soup, and so I was once again without an easy broth source. (And I am way too cheap to buy an entire chicken or veggies to make my own broth. If I buy veggies -- or an entire chicken for that matter -- I want to EAT IT. Not boil them and throw them away. Blasphemy.) But then I thought -- tomatoes! Or, canned tomatoes, which are mostly liquid, and thus a perfect way to make broth without consuming inordinate amounts of sodium. Huzzah! And thus, this soup was born.

The great thing about soup though, (besides being a fast, easy and cheap meal) is that you can flavour it any way you like. This is just a basis for soup, which you can add to and change to suit your own tastes.

(Also, I do this thing where I don't really measure when cooking my own meals. So most measurements you see here are my best guess, so use amounts you think are reasonable if you don't trust mine.)

Tomato Lentil Soup
Cooking oil of choice (I used olive oil)
1/2 of White Onion, chopped
1 cup Broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup Canned Diced Tomatoes (including liquid)
2 tbsp. Water
1/3 cup Lentils
1 1/2 cup Spinach
Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat a small pot over medium heat, add the oil, swirl it around, and then add in the chopped onion. Saute it for several minutes, until it begins to look translucent or is slightly browned, about 4 - 5 minutes.

Add in the chopped broccoli, tomatoes and water. At this point I usually start to add seasonings. I have a shameless love for freshly ground pepper, and highly recommend purchasing a cheap reusable grinder so you can have your own. (You will not regret it!) I have a bunch of pre-mixed seasonings, but for this soup, in addition to salt and pepper, I suggest using oregano, basil, parsley, and maybe a little cumin and (if you want your soup to have a kick) cayenne pepper. But really, it's up to you!

Stir in the lentils, bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the spinach (the heat of the soup will cause it to wilt).


Ideas for alterations:

(The only reason I didn't put garlic in was because I was too lazy to chop it up.)

Add in some whole grains to get a complete protein (barley, brown rice, whole grain pasta, farro, quinoa, to name a few).

Choose your favourite veggies -- carrots, cauliflower, celery, asparagus, you name it!

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