Tomato-Lentil Love…or Fireworks of Deliciousness?

So, I used to be that girl who resisted lentils based solely on my dad’s attempts to get me to eat split-pea soup as a child. I now know two things: that split peas and lentils are NOT the same thing, although certainly related in the world of legumes AND that lentils are delicious AND nutritious.

If you have felt resistance to lentils in the past, rational or irrational, this recipe is probably a great one to start with. Because, well, if I were to characterize this soup in terms of flavor, I would call it more of a robust roasted tomato stew over a lentil soup. But the lentils, in this case green, provide an important depth to the flavor and certainly take this soup from ‘pretty good for you’ to ‘way good and very satisfying.’

I guess the original recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa at home cookbook, and where we found it was on Smittenkitchen.com, an absolutely delightful food blog with lots of tasty treats worth trying. Not much has changed, except for a few recommendations of toppings!

For the Stew:

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups large-diced yellow onions (or two onions, generally)

2 cups large-diced carrots (3-4 carrots)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes

1 cup green lentils

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Spice mix:

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or dried, we used dried, heathens that we are)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 freshly ground pepper

Added just after cooking:

1 tablespoon red wine vinigar

To the Stew!

First things first, you’ll want to prep your veggies, un-can your tomatoes into a food processor or large bowl, and rinse and pick through your lentils.

Heat a large saucepan. I almost wrote ‘heat oil’ in a large sauce plan, but I just learned from my mom the other day  that you actually aren’t supposed to heat the oil while heating the pan. I guess it affects the way the pan heats up and brings the oil to its burning point faster, which could affect your flavors.

Oh my god, what is this blog doing to me?? I’m supposed to be ‘rough-chop’ not ‘Suzy-perfect-pants’!!! Ayyyeee!!!

Anyhow, ahem, once the pan is heated up, add the oil, wait until it ‘shimmers,’ then add the onions and carrots and saute over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. You want to brown the onions slightly, and soften up those carrots.

While the carrots and onions are browning, mash up those tomatoes, either in a food processor, or in a bowl. You could probably also skip this step by buying a can of mashed or chunked Roma (or plum) tomatoes.

For the spice mix, I find it kind of nice to measure these things into a prep bowl then toss ’em in when it’s time. So, just measure out your curry powder (we just used regular ol’ curry powder), thyme (dried OR fresh), salt and pepper.

Now it’s time to add it all in. Pour in the pureed tomatoes, lentils, chicken or veggie broth and your spice mix.

Bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat back to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove from heat, let sit for 10 minutes (we sort of didn’t do this, but it was STILL really good). Stir in 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar and you are ready to go!

..that is pure goodness happening in there...

This soup packs a LOT of flavor and will leave your taste buds begging for more. Not something you might expect from a ‘lentil’ stew, but it is seriously like fireworks of deliciousness going off in your mouth. And it will also leave you feeling satisfied and like you’ve eaten something really wholesome and healthy.

Unless:

If you are inclined towards things of the dairy variety, I highly recommend Parmesan cheese freshly grated over top. Or another great addition is some heavy cream, just if you didn’t feel like you reached your fat quota for the day. Just stir a tablespoon or so in just before you eat.

YUM.

Wowza. It’s a good one. Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed!

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