Lentil-Barley Soup

I love lentils.  They’re so delicious and nutritious and versatile.  In this soup, they make a great one-pot meal.  This soup has your protein, whole grains, and vegetables all in one convenient pot.  Serve this with a side salad, your favorite bread, and/or some fruit and you’ve got yourself a feel-good meal.  My only qualm with this soup is that it doesn’t save as well as some.  After about 3 days, the barley and lentils kind of loose their texture and are a little too soft for my liking.  However, if you’re better at estimating serving sizes than I am, that won’t be too much of a problem and you can just scale it to however much you need.

Lentil-Barley SoupLentil Barley Soup

Serves 4

Adapted from Cooking Light (November 2010)

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced and cleaned
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup beer (optional, I didn’t use this, but I think it sounds tasty)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • salt, to taste

Heat oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot), over medium-high heat.  Add leeks to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, and parsnips, and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and beer (or water if not using beer), barley, dill, pepper, thyme and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Stir in lentils and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes, until lentils and barley are tender.

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Red Lentil Mexican Soup

This is a great soup to whip up on a gloomy day or when you’re feeling under the weather or when you just don’t know what else to make.  I usually have most of these ingredients on hand, so it can come together quickly and doesn’t take a lot of forethought.  The lentils make it hearty and comforting and you can add as much or as little heat as you want.

Red Lentil Mexican SoupRed Lentil Mexican Soup

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayene pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 – 7 cups vegetable stock
  • a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, garlic, celery and red pepper.  Once the vegetables have softened, add spices and tomatoes.  Add rinsed lentils and vegetable stock.  Stir, cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Stir in the lime juice, and serve, garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Spicy Vegetable and Bean Soup

My mom has a special touch with soup.  She has the power to whip up delicious soups without a recipe or a plan.  She can take whatever ingredients are laying around the pantry and create delicious hearty stews.  While I have yet to inherit this superpower,  I’ll stick to making adaptions of delicious recipes.  While the original amounts in this recipe seemed a little off, with a few adjustments the end product turned out great!  This soup is spicy but not too hot.  The vegetables and beans make it hearty and nutritious.  It’s easy to adapt with whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I’d highly recommend this soup.  I might even make it for the upcoming School of Christian Living term without the cheese for a vegan option.

Spicy Vegetable and Bean Soup

Serves 8-10

Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 3 0z tomato paste
  • 3 inch piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1/4 cup julienned basil for garnish
  • shaved parmesan for garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic; saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, and crushed red pepper.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, cheese rind, and salt.  Add the broth, beans, lentils, broccoli, zucchini, and summer squash.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

lunch: Turkey Wrap & Lentil Salad

This past week I made some lentil salad for lunch.  This is one of my go-to vegetarian salads.
It’s super convenient for lunch since it can be served room temperature and has a ton of protein in it.  You can find the recipe here.  I added a tomato in the morning before leaving for work.

I also mixed things up and added a Turkey Wrap one day.  This was an easy and delicious way to throw a sandwich together and is just a little bit different than the usual bread.  For the Turkey wrap I added pepper-jack cheese, smoked turkey, a handful of spinach, and some hummus on a whole wheat tortilla.  Delicious and versatile.

Feeling the Heat!

Tuesday was supposed to be warm but rainy, or at least that’s what the weather forecast was when I planned my menu for SCL dinner.  Unfortunately for me, the rain came on Monday and Tuesday was just hot.  Despite the heat I carried on with my planned menu, and boy am I glad I did.  It was Delicious!  Definitely one of my favorite meals!

This was my first time attempting an Indian inspired meal; we had Tomato and Red Lentil Soup, Cabbage Slaw with Tangy Mustard Dressing, Homemade Naan, and Chamomile Tea Cakes.  While I’m sure it’s not authentic, I loved the flavor combinations and thought it came together wonderfully.

This soup is amazing!  It’s definitely the best lentil soup I’ve ever had.  The spices make this souper (haha puns) flavorful!  I thought it was delicious with or without the coconut milk, so if you don’t have any on hand don’t let that stop you.  

Tomato and Red Lentil Soup

Serves 18

Adapted from Food Doodles

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (don’t worry it’s not a very spicy soup)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 large (29 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 16 cups vegetable stock (I use veggie bullion cubes and water)
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red lentils
  • 1 large (29 oz) can coconut milk (optional)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, saute for 3-5 minutes.  Add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, and bay leaves and continue to saute for 3-5 more minutes.  Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and red lentils, bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for about 1 hour.

Add the coconut milk, stir well and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves, add the lime juice and check for seasoning. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Lentil Spinach Cups

I’ve had this recipe tucked away for a few years; I can’t believe I haven’t made these sooner, they’re so good!.  These come together really quickly and are a lovely vibrant green.  They’d make a great appetizer or light meal.

I also conquered one of my cooking hang-ups (you know those things that seem really impossible to do right, even though it shouldn’t be hard),  I cooked lentils.  While not an impressive feat, lentils have been one of those things that I couldn’t seem to do properly.  When I’ve cooked them in soups they totally disintegrated, or they never got tender!  But I decided to give it a try with these cups, and 25 minutes later I had delicious, tender lentils!

Lentil Spinach Cups

Makes 10 cups

Adapted from Muffin Tin Mania

  • 1/2 cup dry black, brown or green lentils
  • 6oz bag baby spinach
  • 1 large green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add lentils and a pinch of salt.  Let boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain and let cool.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease muffin tin (even if they’re non-stick) and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse spinach until finely chopped.  Add ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper and process until well combined.  Stir in cooled lentils.  Scoop into greased muffin tin (will probably fill about 10).  Bake until set, about 18-20 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes before removing from the muffin tins.

Enjoy!