Guys, I'm going to be straight with you here. As much as I love my slow-cooker, most days I am just not together enough at 7am to execute a slow-cooker recipe properly. Nor am I disciplined enough to get such a thing started sometime between dinner clean up and my (much too early) bedtime.
But all is not lost. You can still whip together a healthy and nutritious meal in about the time it takes to order (&wait) for pizza.
This is a basic Red Lentil soup. Red lentils cook faster than any other pulse or legume. They also cook down and fall apart, leaving an almost creamy soup without any extra effort on your part. No blender required.
By basic I mean that this soup requires a few vegetables that you have on hand - an onion, a big fat carrot and a small sweet potato (you could easily use only carrots or only sweet potatoes to make this even quicker) and a few spices. I like to add a jalapeño to the sautéing vegetables because I like the extra heat, but you could leave this out if you don't like it or just don't have it on hand. I use my favourite home-made spice mix to keep the ingredients to a minimum. Go ahead and use a store-bought spice mix if you'd like. I would recommend something with garlic, cumin and red pepper flavourings. Using a spice mix saves a bit of time and keeps the total ingredients to a minimum.
Fire-roasted diced tomatoes are one of my favourite canned tomato products. They just have a richer taste than regular diced tomatoes. I also appreciate the can size, at just under 400mls,I can add just a touch of tomatoes without having to deal with the rest of that 28oz can. It's a small thing, but half-open cans of anything drive me crazy. Am I alone with this?
And for a little extra something, something green, stir in a bunch of baby spinach just before serving. I like to drizzle each serving bowl with some good quality olive oil and the best quality balsamic vinegar I can find. Both brighten up the soup and really make the flavours sing. Serve with crusty bread -- pictured here is actually this loaf from the Minimalist Baker. Which turned out exactly like it said it would 🙂
Red Lentil and Tomato Soup
A simple weeknight soup. Hearty and healthy. Red lentils cook up relatively quickly making them a "must-have" staple for vegetarian meals.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 large fat carrot peeled and diced
- 1 jalapeno finely diced (remove seeds for less heat)
- 1 small sweet potato peeled and diced (about ¾ of a cup)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablspoon of all purpose seasoning mix like this one
- 1-¾ cups of red lentils
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water with 2 vegetable boullion cubes
- 398 ml can of diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups packed, fresh baby spinach
- extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar for serving
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven or large soup pot. Add onions, carrots, and jalapeno and saute until onions are tender, 7-8 minutes. Add salt and seasonings and saute for another minute or two or until spices are fragrant. Add sweet potato, lentils, water, stock, and diced canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft 30-40 minutes.
- Before serving add spinach and stir into hot soup. Let sit on low heat for a minute or two so that the spinach wilts into the soup. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and fresh black pepper if necessary.
- For serving drizzle each bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vineagar.