To me, lentils are the ideal ‘convenience’ food: healthy, economical and tasty. Note: usually the first two items cancel out the last.
Not only are lentils packed with B vitamins (especially B3) they are also high in iron, zinc and calcium. According to the USDA website “one-half cup of cooked peas or lentils provides more than 10 grams of dietary fiber.” Add some rice or beans and you’ve got a great source of protein or replacement for red meat (whoa – I know that might be pushing the envelope here.)
Since lentils are so good for you it only seems fair to add bacon to the recipe below as a counterbalance. The soup recipe below is simple and makes an ample amount for friends, family or your future lunch (it freezes without a hitch!)
- 1 lb. bacon - sliced
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 cup celery – chopped, with leaves
- 1 cup carrots – chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 lb. lentils
- 3 quarts water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Optional ingredients: bay leaf, basil, hot sauce or Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Cook bacon, onions and garlic. Drain the fat thoroughly. Return the mixture to your stock pot.
Add remaining ingredients.
Cook ingredients until lentils are soft but firm*. If you want a creamy texture, puree half the soup in a blender and return to the pot.
*This step won’t take more than 45-60 minutes.