Hearty Winter Soup with Lentils

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This winter has been the worst! I’m not even talking about all the snow storms, ice-covered cars, blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, etc.

I’m talking cooties. Big time cooties. Invading my house constantly. My poor 2-year-old has been sick off and on since Thanksgiving… and so have my husband and I. Argh!!

Hearty Winter Soup with Lentils

So that means soup. Lots of soup. I’ve been making big batches of soup occasionally to try to help get extra vitamins into all of us, as well as to have leftovers to eat all week.

I made this soup a few weeks ago and am just now getting around to writing about it. It was a really nice combo of veggies, and it was hearty enough to fill us up after one bowl.

I used a chicken soup base, since chicken soup is so revered for its healing qualities, but you could definitely use vegetable if you want to keep this meat-free. If you have some parmesan rind hanging out, drop a small piece in the soup – it adds a nice salty richness that’s great in this soup.

Hearty Winter Soup with Lentils

Hearty Winter Soup with Lentils
Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen – Ashley Covelli

2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon Penzeys chicken soup base*
6 cups water
2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
1 cup French lentils
Small piece Parmesan rind (about 2 inches square, optional)
2 cups baby spinach

Heat oil in a large stock pot over moderate heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and bell pepper and stir. Season with salt and pepper and stir until the veggies start to soften. Add sweet potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, soup base and water and bring to a boil. Add lentils and Parmesan rind and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Stir in spinach and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, thyme sprigs and Parmesan rind. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve warm, preferably with some nice, crusty bread for soaking up all of the goodness.

*Can substitute other flavors such as beef or vegetable

Big Flavors Rating: 4 Stars