Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Sometimes you need something really fast and simple to serve your family that will leave them satisfied and pump them full of the vitamins & minerals they need to be healthy.  This soup does all that and it takes less than 5 minutes to make (minus the cooking or stirring time).  I made this soup Monday night when I had a parent meeting at my child's preschool.  I wanted the rest of the family to eat something besides take-out or chicken nuggets and tator tots (not that we don't do that sometimes too).  Both kids enjoyed this and my husband loved it too.  I've made it many times and the ingredients change every time, but the base of the soup always remains the same - onions, V8, chicken stock.  This time I used split lentils, which almost dissolve in the soup and turn it into a rich stew.   I've used white beans, nothing but vegetables, and sometimes just alphabet pasta to make it fun for the kids.  I love to add any vegetables I have in the refrigerator or freezer.  This time my options were slim, (desperately needed to go to the grocery store), but I encourage you to add what ever your family loves.  Swiss chard, spinach, or kale are excellent choices.  Beans, pasta, or lentils make it a hardier meal.  Be creative and make it your own.

Happy Cooking!

Vegetable Lentil Soup
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice (I used low-sodium V8)
4 cups chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 bag frozen mixed veggies, or any you prefer
1/2 cup split red lentils, uncooked
1/2 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.  Then add the vegetable juice, stock, garlic powder, oregano, and salt & pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  (If you are in a hurry, place the lid on the pot and it will come to a boil much faster). 

Add the frozen or fresh vegetables of your choice and cook until it comes to a boil again.  Then add the lentils and pasta.  Cook an additional 20 minutes, or until everything is fork tender.  (You may need to taste test at this point to make sure the pasta and lentils are cooked through, and to see if the soup needs more salt or pepper).  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Cook's note:  split lentils cook much faster than regular lentils.  If using regular lentils, cook them in a separate pot ahead of time (according to package directions) and add them as directed above.

After you add the lentils and pasta.  As they cook, they absorb some of the liquid and expand.
Ready to eat!
So yummy!!!  The V8 gives it such a depth of flavor!

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