My introduction to lentils was akin to meeting someone for the first time, but feeling instinctively as if we’d been friends forever. There’s so much love between me and lentils (oh, and chickpeas, too, but today I’m all about the lentil love). “No Lentils Left Behind” became my mantra, and I dutifully stocked my pantry with the three most common (red, green, and French green) varieties, but there are many options available that I have yet to sample. Different lentils behave differently when cooked, as well as having different flavors.
Red lentils tend to get mushy so I love that texture for my fast and favorite Snobby Joes. Green lentils hold their shape better under cooking, and I loved their standup performance in Slow Cooker Chickpea & Lentil Stew. But French green lentils are so cute, entering the arena smaller than the green ones mentioned above. And they’re so pretty, too, and seemed the perfect fit for this lentil soup recipe from Whole Foods Market.
Lentil soup – of most any variety – is soup with intention. Its purpose is to fill you, to warm you, to envelope you in rich earthy flavors punctuated by each ingredient, individually, contributing its uniqueness to the greater whole. This is not a fancy soup. You will not sit for hours trying to decipher the source of a particular flavor that strikes your taste buds in a specific way. You will, however, taste the blended beauty of each of the three main ingredients (lentils, onion, and carrot), and as their simple essence slides down your throat, your spoon will already be scooping its next batch.
Just remember to allow sufficient time for the lentils to cook and you will have enough time to throw a batch of muffins together while the soup is simmering.
Mmmmm. Soup and muffins. How could life possibly be better than that?
I enhanced the original recipe by adding Better Than Bouillon. I've also thrown an entire lemon, halved, into the soup at the very end of the cooking in place of the balsamic vinegar. Either one is a really nice touch and I recommend you try it both ways.
- Uncooked French Green Lentils - 3 cups
- Water - 3 quarts
- Vegetable Better Than Bouillon - 2 T
- Grapeseed Oil - 2 T
- Large Yellow Onion - chopped
- Carrots - 3 large, chopped
- Balsamic Vinegar - 2 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Pepper - to taste
Put lentils and water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add Better Than Bouillon. Skim off any foam on the surface, then reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrots and continue cooking until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
During the last 20 minutes of cooking, transfer onion and carrots to pot with lentils. Once lentils are tender, stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and serve.