Lentils, Lentils, The Magical Fruit

I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned before that I have a hella crazy schedule during the week. Just to give you an idea, on Mondays and Thursdays, I have work from 8:30-12 and then rush over to my internship from 12:30-8:30. Tuesday, I have class for 10 hours straight (that should be illegal, right?). Wednesday and Friday are pretty chill because I only have work from 8:30-5, but the nights are spent by going for a run and then studying my booty off. Needless to say, I don’t have as much time to cook as I would like. I also don’t have a lot of time to prepare multiple meals for the day, since I’m out of my apartment for a minimum of 8 hours at a time.

My solution? A big honking pot of lentil soup! As a pescatarian, I’m always conscious of my protein intake. I love love edamame, tofu, and all beans, but I’ve been seeking alternative sources as well. A 1/4 dry cup of lentils packs 10g of protein (20% of your recommended daily intake) as well as 11g of fiber (43% RDI) and other super healthy for you nutrients. Lentil soup is perfect for autumnal weather (especially when it’s dreary and rainy like it’s been the past few days) and by making a big ol’ pot of it, you can feed yourself for the whole week!

I found this wonderful tupperware set at Marshalls the other day, and knew that my lentils were going to go in the big 13 cups container. (Photo cred to Amazon. I’m too lazy to charge my camera for a shot of tupperware).

After looking at a few recipes online, I decided that I would just throw some things in a pot and make up my own recipe. As usual..

Sizzling onionsFirst heat 2 tsps of oil over medium heat. Chop 1/3 of an onion and 3 cloves of garlic, and add them to the pot.

Once the onions and garlic become translucent, add 2 stalks of chopped celery and 2 chopped carrots. As you can see, I like my vegetables in larger pieces- it’s a texture thing- so feel free to chop your veggies smaller or larger depending on your preference.

After the veggies have softened a little (~8 minutes) add some of your spices. This is a technique that I learned while following some Indian recipes. It kind of releases the aromatics and infuses the vegetables. Ok fine, I just made that up, but it sounded pretty good, right? Trust me on this, add the spices now and then add more to taste once the soup (stew? stoup?) is done. I added black pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne, and cumin. One of my super annoying habits is that I never measure spices. I usually dust some over the whole dish, mix it up, and taste. Hey, it’s worked for over 20 years, so I won’t mess with it.

I added some Sriracha too, because spicy things make me smile.

Next, I threw in one of those big cans, I think they’re 32 oz, of crushed tomatoes. Side note: I don’t do store bought vegetable broth. My mom never used the stuff and taught me that I can just make it myself, or add water and spices in place of it. I figured that since I was adding vegetables and lots of good spices, most of the flavor would come from everything simmering together. After the tomatoes cooked for about 2 minutes, I dumped in a pound of lentils and added 3 cups of water. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and let things simmer away until the lentils are tender. This took about 1 hour.

Ta-da! Look at those lentils! Couldn’t you just eat them up with a spoon?

BAM. Yes, that is 13 whopping cups of lentils. Delicious, nutritious, lentils. I actually made this stoup last Saturday and I’ve had it for either lunch or dinner every day this week. Not only am I not sick of it, but I still have a good amount left over. In my opinion, this is Good Eats (Alton, call me!!).

–Ariel