Monday, September 30, 2013

Lentil Minestrone

Once again, browsing through a magazine I found a recipe I liked. Of course you already know I did not have all the ingredients. So yes, I improvised and added a lot more spice/herbs than the original had. The original was really bland when I tasted it, so I added more. The recipe below indicates how much I used.

I love minestrone anyway but shock, had no kidney beans (except dry which would take hours to cook) and no white/cannelloni beans either. HOW did that happen? Oh well, I had just cooked a big pot of lentils the day before. I have several recipes I wanted to fix and so I cooked the lentils to 'almost' done so that when I add them to the recipes they do not become mush and no chemicals from a can :) Smart, yes? Yes.

I decided that instead of not fixing the recipe I wanted, I would just substitute the lentils for the other beans.

Of course there were other substitutions as well. It called for green cabbage and I used Napa. It called for fresh garlic and I used powdered. It called for spinach and I had none.

Here is the recipe and photo, it was really good, filling and my husband did not complain that there was "no meat" LOL when I say "no meat" I always think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding! makes me laugh every time.

I served this with a soft oatmeal bread, toasted with a little butter. No salad but you could if you want. The soup is loaded with fresh vegetables and full of nutrition all on its own.

This soup took longer than most of my meals. I try to keep everything under 30 minutes, a lot of times under 20 unless it is a slow cooker dish. This took a total of 45 minutes to prepare but was worth it. We had the leftovers the next day for lunch. I just added a little more broth to it, heated it up and DONE!

Cost vary depending on where you live but it cost me $4.15 to make this soup. Makes 10-12 bowls depending on your bowl size. That means this is about 42 cent per serving. Now THAT is a deal!!

Lentil Minestrone
2 cups cooked lentils (mine were al'dente and finished in the soup. IF you use canned, add them when you add the pasta)
1 1/2 cups pasta
6 cups water
2 cups broth (vegetable)
4 carrots sliced
1/2 head of cabbage (about 4 cups chopped)
1 large onion diced
3 TBSP tomato paste
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 TBSP thyme, dried
2 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 ribs of celery sliced thin
1 russet potato diced small
1/2 cup broccoli slaw

If using dry beans, soak and cook them the night before. If using can, rinse and drain well.
Dice all your vegetables and pull all your spices needed off the shelf. It makes for faster and easier cooking when all ingredients are within reach on the counter.
In a large pot over medium heat, add your oil and onion. Cook 8-10 minutes until tender. Stir in your tomato paste and spices. Add your other vegetables(except the cabbage). Cook about 1 minute. Add a cup of water to help sweat the vegetables.
Cook the vegetables and spices for 10 minutes, add your water and broth.
Cook this for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile cook your pasta and drain. You will add the pasta near the end.
Add your lentils and cabbage. Cook another 10 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta and cook for 3 minutes or until heated through.
Serve with bread and top with Parmesan cheese if you desire. We did not.


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