Farmers’ market produce = Lentil Soup

I am FINALLY finished with essays and have successfully submitted them (but haven’t yet found out if they were successful…yikes). To celebrate and also to give my mind a break, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking. Specifically healthy cooking since it’s spring, and farmers’ markets are hard to resist for me, and at farmers’ markets there are lots of great, healthy produce. Plus, it’s amazingly inexpensive. So instead of telling you about my stressful essays, I’m going to share my newest favorite soup recipe with you…even though it’s not really soup season. I promise, it’s worth it. I haven’t tried it cold yet but I could see it being great either way!

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Not even all of my farmer’s market haul…for less than £8. Happy tummy AND wallet.

With my nanny job I get to make a lot of fun recipes with very British ingredients and flavors that I probably wouldn’t have made for myself, but since I get to sample the dishes after they’re cooked I can decide which I like and want to make at home. Earlier this week the kids and I had lentil soup for dinner, and although I’ve never made anything with lentils in my life this soup made me want to try. It’s a delicious, semi-British recipe (because Brits love their parsnips) and lends itself well to a shopping spree at a farmers’ market, which conveniently is where I found myself this morning. I bought what I needed (and then some) and headed home to make it for dinner this evening.

To make the soup you need to peel and chop one red onion, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks of celery, and 2-3 parsnips, and sauté the veggies plus 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves optional…I left them on) in some olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. The smaller the veggies are chopped, the quicker they soften (learned that the hard way, as you can see in the picture. Parsnips. Still not used to those guys.).

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While the veggies are sauteing peel and chop a large sweet potato to add later. I sautéed my veggies in a stock pot because after they’ve softened you add 750-1000 mL (or approximately 3.5-4 cups) of vegetable stock, like so:

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After adding the stock add the chopped up sweet potato, a sprig of rosemary (leaves optional, I left them on), and 1-1.5 cups of red lentils. I used 1.5 cups to make it a soup full of protein AND veggies. I didn’t realize how good red lentils are for you, but after doing some research it definitely makes me want to use them more often.

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Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. You want the lentils and veggies to be thoroughly cooked because you will be blending them afterwards.

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Once it’s cooked I would suggest letting it cool a bit before blending. If you have a food processor this step will be much easier for you. Unfortunately for me, I only have my little baby blender which is lovely for single-serving shakes but not so great for blending soups.

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It took me probably 5 or 6 rounds before I got all the soup blended, but it was definitely worth it in the end:

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I switched pots, which is why it looks like it tripled after blending.

 

It looks and tastes like a creamy soup, but is mostly veggie-based. It’s also full of protein thanks to the lentils. Like I said before, I’m really enjoying the healthy farmers’ market foods these days and this soup fits the bill perfectly. You can also add spices like curry or chili powder, cumin, or really whatever else you like. Also, if your farmers’ markets are as awesome as they are in London, pick up some good bread to go along with the soup.

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I’m a sucker for a good rosemary focaccia. Gonna be honest, the bread is tied with the soup as my favorite part of this meal. I’d eat good bread all day if I could.

If you try the recipe, let me know what you think of the soup! Happy cooking 🙂

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Red Lentil Soup

Serves: apx. 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 parsnips
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves optional)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive oil (or to preference)
  • 750-1000 mL (3.5-4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (leaves optional)
  • 1-1.5 cups red lentils, uncooked
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop red onion, carrots, parsnips, and celery. Remove thyme leaves if desired.
  2. Heat olive oil in stock pot and sauté onion, carrots, parsnips, celery and thyme until veggies are soften, apx 5-10 minutes.
  3. While sauteing veggies, peel and chop sweet potato. Remove rosemary leaves if desired.
  4. Once veggies are soft, add vegetable stock, chopped sweet potato, rosemary, and red lentils, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until lentils and veggies are cooked.
  6. In food processor or blender, blend soup into a creamy mixture.

Enjoy with your favorite bread!

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3 thoughts on “Farmers’ market produce = Lentil Soup

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