Lentil & Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

Lentil and Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup

I love to make this soup when it's rainy and cold and something warm sounds so inviting. I find that we eat a lot of "brown" food in the winter and one thing I particularly like about this dish is the color found popping out of every spoonful. From the bright orange carrots to the red tomatoes to the vibrant green spinach. Those colors give me an extra-added boost of energy I desperately need this time of year.

As for the ingredients I have listed below....if you don't have the cheese rind or fresh parsley, don't sweat it. You might need an extra pinch or two of salt or pepper. Maybe an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan. And of course, regular tomatoes can be used in place of the fire-roasted ones. But don't skimp on the French green lentils. They really make a difference in soup. They hold their shape better than other types of lentils. You can find them in many bulk food sections as well as with the other packaged lentils.


Ingredients:

  • 1 c French green lentils (sometimes known as du Puy)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks chopped, white and light green parts only (could substitute 1 lg yellow onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c celery, diced (about 2-3 stalks)
  • 1 c carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 large)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a bit of Parmesan cheese rind
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley (plus more for garnish)
  • 8 c (2 qts) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 3 c baby spinach leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: 1 lb kielbasa or other pre-cooked sausage links, diced

Directions:

Put your lentils in a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to cover by 2 inches. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add your olive oil. Once heated, add your leeks, garlic, celery, carrots, Bay leaves, salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes or until your vegetables have started to soften.

Next, add your cheese rind, parsley, chicken broth, tomatoes and lentils. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Stir in your spinach leaves and simmer another 10 minutes or until lentils are softened. If you are adding in sausage, spoon it into the pot now as well.

Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Enjoy.


Yield: One big pot-full

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