Ah, March. To some this might feel like an exciting time as spring is within grasp, but for others (like me) it means the beginning of one of the most random months of the year. March. It’s not that I hate March, but I’m never excited for it. I remember it as being this long, drawn out month of weird weather, no vacations, tax preparation and a deep longing for the warmth of summer. I’m not usually a downer when it comes to things, but with March beginning tomorrow I can’t help but sigh and seek comfort in the form of a quick and easy lentil soup engulfed in a bowl made out of bread. Geez someone give me a hug!
Okay, now I feel bad.
March does have its pluses! Spring officially begins, the days stay lighter for longer, March Madness is on (if you care), green beer on St. Patrick’s Day happens (once again, if you care)…and that’s all I’ve got. If you participate in Lent, then this might be a good month of reflection and growth for you as you eliminate one of your vices in hopes of bettering yourself and strengthening your relationship with God. Some people take this somewhat gloomy month as a chance to go on a tropical vacation and soak up some much needed Vitamin D (mostly for all of us in the northern half of the country)….
Okay, there you go. There’s my bright side to March (insert cheesy smile).
Now back to the bread bowls filled with soup!
Let’s be honest, sometimes soup takes en eternity to make and unless you cook a giant batch over the weekend to eat throughout the week, you’re S.O.L come that Wednesday night soup craving. 30 minutes seems to be that magical number that gets people excited about cooking, just look at Rachel Ray! You get home from work, or picking up the kids, or the gym, or school, or the circus or whatever you do, and even if you’ve been sitting all day, all you want to do is sit and suck at Jeopardy with a plate full of food in your lap. You have a small window of no more than 30 minutes to cook something and eat it, which means you’re more than likely to make something unhealthy, pre-packaged and probably crappy.
Not. Any. More.
Depending on how fast you can chop carrots, onion and celery, you’ll be sitting on the couch or around the table for dinner in the same time you could watch an episode of Modern Family.
Wait what’s a lentil? I asked my husband if he knew and his only response was, “it’s a food right?” Maybe this means a lot of you don’t know what it is, and because of this, you don’t cook with it. Let’s change that!
A lentil is a type of legume (like a bean) and comes in multiple color varieties including green, red and even black. Each variety has a slightly different texture perfect for different cooking methods, but for the most part they all cook within 20-30 minutes. They don’t absorb water like rice or quinoa, but cook more like a pasta. Their flavor is somewhat nutty and earthy, but do a good job of soaking up whatever spices or herbs you throw in with it (perfect for soup!) The health benefits include: low in calories (helps with weight loss), high in protein (good for vegetarians/vegans and keeps you fuller longer), high in fiber (keeps you regular), lowers cholesterol (good for your heart) and increases your energy (good for everything)!
In a nutshell, lentils are good for you, tasty and easy to make. Oh and they’re cheap and found in bulk! That’s a whole handful of wins.
The easiest decision you’ll make all week is deciding whether or not to eat your soup from a normal bowl or a bread bowl. Always bread bowl. Always bread bowl.
What to Bring to the Store
There aren’t many ingredients in this soup, so the only reusables you’ll need with you from the store are:
- 2 produce bags for your carrot and celery
- 1 reusable bulk bag for your lentils
And of course your reusable grocery bag.
Waste Meter – 5!
This recipe only produces one little bit of recycling, making it worthy of a 5 on the waste meter. Here’s the scoop:
Recycle: chicken or vegetable broth carton
Compost: Vegetable scraps
Trash: no thanks
This might be the greatest recipe of all time.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2-4 small
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add in the diced onion, celery and carrot, as well as the salt. Stir and cover for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add in the broth and lentils. Stir, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut a round hole in the top of each bread loaf. Hollow out the bread to form a bowl, as you would cutting open a pumpkin.
- Once the soup is finished, ladle 1 cup in each bread bowl. Serve immediately. Leftover soup will keep in your fridge for up to a week.