A few weeks back, a friend at work, who knows I appreciate healthy recipes, pointed out to me that the Whole Foods Market has a nice website with recipes (Thanks, Vicki!) It's great to have friends who know you well. I DO appreciate new sources for heathly recipes! As you might expect, the Whole Foods Market website can be found at http://www.wholefoods.com/
That same week, my Dad sent me an article from The Oregonian newspaper. The article was all about the healthful qualities and versatility of lentils. It's a great thing to have a Dad who knows me so well. (Thanks, Dad!) I DID enjoy learning more about lentils. Does that make me a food nerd!?
Here's what I made... sorry no photo of my soup today.
Hearty Lentil and Sausage Soup (adapted from http://www.wholefoods.com/)
Original recipe link is HERE.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 carrots (chopped)
3 - 4 stalks celery (chopped)
1 yellow onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1/4 - 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup lentils, picked through and rinsed (I used green lentils)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth + 1 cup water
1 cup chopped tomatoes, with their juice (I used a 10 ounce can of tomato puree)
1 cup dry red wine (I used Franzia brand "Shiraz" wine)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
I added a pinch of dried thyme leaves at the very end... Caution... very potent herb!
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, & onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add sausage and cook, breaking into small chunks, until it begins to brown. Add garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add lentils, broth, water, tomatoes (or tomato puree), wine and pepper flakes; cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir well and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more; stir in thyme. Ladle soup into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese (if desired).
I adapted this recipe quite a lot to use up what I had on hand. I omitted the spinach and mushrooms called for in the original recipe, but added extra carrots, celery, and onion. The original recipe called for fresh tomatoes but I used canned tomato puree. The original recipe also called for beef and mushroom broth, but I used a combination of chicken broth and water. When I initially tasted this soup, I was concerned my wine choice (Shiraz) was all wrong; I also worried I ruined the soup with the addition of the potent dried thyme at the very end. Oh no! But after eating this soup for lunch at work, and also freezing, thawing, and then eating this soup... I am sold. I love it! I wish I had more of it frozen and stowed away for another day. I also love that this soup was a great use of what I had on hand. A very flexible recipe indeed!
From the Whole Foods website, I also made up a pot of Butternut Squash Soup. I made it the same day as the Lentil soup, and I froze it right away. One can only eat so much soup in a week! Someday soon, I'll be eating that for lunches at work. If it's awesome, I'll post about it as well!