Lentil Vegetable Soup
This lentil vegetable soup is so healing and so comforting!
I make soup all of the time. I mean All. Of. The. Time. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as organized as I’d like to be, so oftentimes I make a great pot of soup for dinner, we eat it, we love it, and then there is not enough left for me to photograph. This means that some of my best creations never make it to the blog.
I have made a version of this soup at least 3 times already. Each one has been delicious. And, I’m proud to say, that finally, I cooked it during the day, while it was still light enough for me to take some decent pictures. Yay… here it is!
I love a good lentil soup.
I love a great vegetable soup.
This is a great lentil vegetable soup!
And this version is filled with sliced up collard greens. OMG… it’s so good! And don’t even get me started on the health benefits of collards (really, just look below and I’ll list them for you…).
I also love to freeze some of my soup leftovers so that on a night that I don’t feel like cooking (yes, it does happen…) I can just defrost some and have a great dinner.
This time that didn’t work so well. I’ve been trying not to use plastic anymore; I much prefer glass. I see people freezing things all of the time in glass mason jars. I’ve had it work a few times, but like this time, sometimes the jars crack. Such a waste! It all looked good… I took the filled lentil vegetable soup jar out of the freezer, set it on the counter, and within 10 minutes, an entire side of the jar fell off! I mean, it really just slid away from the rest of the jar!
For those of you who have had success freezing foods in mason jars, will you pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaasssse share your secret with me????????
Anyway, none of this should take away from the deliciousness of this soup. It’s hearty and healthy and warming and yummy…
Just look at the pictures below. The first one shows the beauty of the tomatoes I had and the sliced up collards. The second pic is of my all-time-favorite Chinese herb, Huang Qi (Astragalus). You don’t have to add Chinese herbs to your soup, but I just had to show you these raw Huang Qi sticks. They are like magic; they build qi/give you energy… you can really feel it working while you are eating. Yes, I know, my family makes fun of my excitement for herbs too, but they also are happy to reap the rewards when they eat the soup, so think about trying out some herbs the next time you make a pot of soup…
If you want a soup that’s really really good, but not a lentil-veg soup, try my Hot And Sour Soup recipe.
There are lots of great things in this soup:
Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.
Collard greens are great for you. They help build strong bones, lessen constipation, help reduce stress and act as a detoxifying food. They have almost no calories but do have a lot of fiber. They contain vitamins A, C, and K and are filled with minerals like calcium and manganese. One of the best things about collards is that they are great at preventing the buildup of bad cholesterol.
Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.
- 1-1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ large red onion, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- sea salt and black pepper
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 bunch collard green leaves, sliced into ribbons
- 1 lb heirloom tomatoes, diced
- 1 qt vegetable broth (here's one I use)
- 3 (or more) spicy piquillo peppers, sliced (I used the marinated ones at my local olive bar) (you can buy these)
- 1 cup brown lentils
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 raw pieces of Huang Qi (Astragalus) (optional)
- microgreens, for garnish (optional)
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and and cook, stirring, for 3-minutes.
- Add sliced collard leaves and stir for about 2-minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and stir until combined.
- Pour in the broth.
- Add the peppers and lentils.
- Add raw Chinese herbs if using.
- Stir in parsley.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cover and let cook about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with micro greens if desired.