Hi all! I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you. I love this lentil soup recipe because it is so versatile. If you don’t have any of the ingredients listed or don’t like one of them, just substitute something else! Or, adding more vegetables just makes it better in my opinion.
Sprouting your lentils is completely optional, but it really gives the soup a different depth of flavor and adds more nutrition. When you sprout, you are waking up the beans and all their nutrients as they are getting ready to grow into a living plant. The longer you sprout, the more of an earthy flavor the beans will have. I have definitely let them go too long for my personal taste, but I ate it anyway. Waste not, want not 😉 Plus, now I know when to cook them versus letting them continue to grow.
The other perk to sprouting beans is the no gas factor. Really, for my body, even just soaking beans for 24 hours, with several rinses, gets rid of the intestinal gas and bloating. The beans cook faster too. It’s a win-win.
The beans pictured above were soaked for about 8 hours, then sprouted for about 12-16 hours. Some recommend soaking for a full 24 hours, which I’ve done, but ran out of time for this and the sprouting took precedence in this instance. Lentils are also insanely easy to sprout. There are many methods, but mine is as follows…
- Rinse & drain dried lentils (or any beans).
- Add to bowl or pot and cover with about 2 inches of filtered water.
- Let sit, draining and rinsing about every 6 hours, but don’t stress about it, it’s not an exact science.
- Finally, after desired soak time (6-24 hours), drain and rinse again, now placing in a colander.
- Rinse beans/lentils about 2-4 times a day. Rinse more often if it’s hot out. I like to rinse with cool, filtered water and give them a bit of love, tossing them with my fingers.
- Cover colander with a kitchen towel or fabric dinner napkin to keep dust or other undesirable stuff off them. Don’t use plastic! They need a bit of air to circulate.
- With Lentils, you should see the little tails sprout very soon. Let the tails get as long as you like. I like to get my toddler involved to look and touch them at various stages of growth. She digs it.
That’s it! Once the tails grow a bit, as pictured above, you can add the lentils to bread dough, soups, salads, pasta, etc. They will be a bit crunchy, but nothing like the hard, dry beans they once were. It’s worth noting that for salads, breads, and pasta dishes, the lentils are traditionally left to sprout a bit longer tails. But play with it and see what you like best.
- 1.5-2 cups dried lentils, soaked and sprouted
- 4 cups of vegetable broth (check your broth for gluten if needing GF)
- 1 – 28 oz can of organic, BPA-free lining canned diced tomatoes (check for GF)
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 4 small organic carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- about 2 tbsp of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil (or combination of oil and butter if you prefer and aren’t making it vegan)
- 1 tsp sea salt (plus more for taste)
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or more for taste)
- oregano, to taste
- 1 or 2 small bay leaves
- 1/4-3/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or leave it out!)
Other veggies that are great for this soup…
- chopped kale, about 3 decent-sized handfuls
- chopped celery, 1/2 cup
- diced potatoes, 3-4 small potatoes
- sliced mushrooms, about 1 cup
- Follow above directions for soaking and sprouting lentils
- Gather all desired ingredients, preparing veggies
- Heat oil (or butter) in large stockpot over medium to medium high heat
- Once pot is hot, add prepared veggies and cook until softened a bit
- Season veggies with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, stirring frequently
- Once veggies have softened a bit, about 6-8 minutes (adjust heat so veggies don’t brown), add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more
- Add lentils and stir to incorporate, cooking 1-2 minutes more
- Add entire can of diced tomatoes and 4 cups veggie broth
- You might have to add 1-2 cups additional water as lentils will soak up a bit of water and so will potatoes, if used.
- Add bay leaves and turn to a low simmer
- Let soup simmer for at least 25 minutes
- Taste and re-season as necessary. You may also want to add more broth for a thinner soup, or add less water for a thicker stew.
- Allow to simmer for at least 10 more minutes, up to an hour total.
Serve with bread or crackers, or enjoy alone. We love bread in our family so I always serve it with bread. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!
If you choose to skip the soak and sprout process, you will need quite a bit more water/broth as the lentils will soak up the liquid a lot. And remember, you can always add more seasoning, but you can’t take away. Since this is meat-free, feel free to taste as you go at any stage.