The neighbors who lived behind me when I was a kid were from Italy. When my mother started working again, I spent my time there after school. Mrs. “B” often had a pot of lentil soup going on the stove. I didn’t know what lentils were but they sure smelled good and I enjoyed many bowls at their table. Years later and years before I met her, these same neighbors moved next door to my future wife in another part of town. When we discovered that we both knew this family, we fondly recalled their lentil soup. When my wife knew them, Mrs. “B’s” daughter was making the soup while her mother was at work. I bet the tradition has continued with the next generation.
Lentils are prevalent in a large portion of the world. There are many preparations for this legume. They are very versatile depending on the spices you pair them with. Every region has its own flare.
Approximately 26% of the lentils calories are from protein and they are high in dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin b1. Lentils provide one of the best sources of iron for vegetarians. You can buy lentils in many different colors and sizes. For this batch of soup, we used a blend of lentils. You may use any lentils you desire. Green lentils have more fiber than red lentils. If you use yellow or red lentils they will not hold their shape as well as green or brown lentils, but the soup will taste just as great. I always find lentil soup to be comforting and earthy.
Parsnips add more sweetness and sherry adds a bit of Spanish flare. This is a large batch of soup and the recipe can be adjusted smaller if you wish. I like to make a large batch and use it for lunches during the week.
makes 10-12 servings
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 carrots, ¼ inch sliced
- 3 parsnips ¼ inch sliced
- 3 celery ribs with leaves, ¼ inch sliced
- 1 lb mixed lentils or any kind of lentils
- 14½ oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- 2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp salt
- ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- water, enough to cover by about 2 inches
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
Heat a pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add the olive oil, garlic, and onion. Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent. When the onions are translucent add the rest of the vegetables. Stir and add the sherry. Cover for about 3 minutes to sweat the vegetables. Add the lentils, tomato, marjoram, bay leaf, salt, black pepper and enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil then lower heat and partially cover with a lid. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the lentils are tender adding more water if necessary. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve with a wedge of lemon.