I’m going back to my roots with this recipe. Lentil soup was one of the first healthy recipes I learned to make when I was 18, and erm, 160 pounds! As I write this, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when I dipped my pinky toes into the world of vegetarianism. I remember the days when I used to visit my girlfriend Malina who worked at the first Santa Monica Coop Supermarket, just across the street from where it is now on 16th and Broadway, when it was just a small room and a bunch of long hairs working behind the register. Everything was so new! What’s tofu, miso paste, or quinoa? I miss those days, I tell ya. The world of health has become a booming business, and I yearn for a simpler time when all you needed was an armfull of organic produce and a few seasonings from your larder. Here’s the deal: you don’t need all the gadgets and mumbo jumbo to take care of your body! Keep your diet simple and clean, and always remember, a little goes a long way. Health food stores are emporiums of goodness, but also a lot of gimmicks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. My advice is to incorporate ideas slowly, enjoying the process of learning, and tasting!
My lentil soup is vegan, yet rich and filling. Have you ever wondered what to do with your broccoli stalks? Instead of putting them in the bin, peel, dice, and add them to your soup. It’s a great way to get extra vitamins. They melt into the soup to add to a rich creaminess. This is also a bonus for parents that want to get their kids to eat more vegetables. Enjoy.
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
3 tbs olive oil
broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
4 carrots, cubed
3 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs tomato paste
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and and cook the onions the onions, garlic, and celery on medium heat for 4 minutes or until translucent. Add the carrots and broccoli stalks and cook for another 3 minutes.
2. Stir in the coriander, cumin, thyme, cayenne, cook for a minute then stir in the tomato paste. Pour in the vegetable stock and lentils and stir. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for one hour.
3. Depending on preferred consistency, ladle 2-3 cups of soup into a blender, and pour back into the pot of soup for creamy texture. Serve with croutons and freshly grated parmesan.