Balanced Living

Soup, Soup, and More Soup!

Posted by Arja on October 23 in Soups and Stews

It’s a cool, rainy day and I’ve got soup on my mind.  Summer is lovely, but fall makes me want to get back into my kitchen and cook up steaming pots of deliciousness.  I think one of the best things about soup is that it’s so easy to batch cook and have extra for lunches, other dinners, or to stash in your freezer for easy meals another day.  The other great thing about soup is that it’s an easy way to get a whole lot of vegetables in you in one sitting!  Whether it’s meat-based or vegetable-based, it’s easy to create something hearty, and satisfying that’s still really good for you.

There are about a million soup recipes out there, and I in no way claim that the one I’m about the share is revolutionary in either its ingredients or methods.  It is, however, delicious and good for you.  It’s also an easy recipe to adapt to your own taste, and is a great way to clean out any vegetables that have been lurking in your fridge before you have to toss them out.  All good things, right?

The recipe I’ve written out is only vegetables and lentils, so it’s low allergen and suitable for those limiting grains and starchy vegetables for fat-loss purposes.  You could easily toss in some chopped potatoes, or a cup of quinoa or another grain and still have a healthy soup. 

The key to using recipes is really to use them as your jumping off point – don’t feel like you always need to follow them to the letter, especially if you see ingredients that you don’t really like, or are missing something.  Get creative!  I’ve included approximate measurements of the chopped vegetables I’ve used so that you can substitute something easily, just stick with the basic amounts I’ve suggested.

Clean Out the Fridge Vegetable Soup

1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed well
2 large leeks white part only, thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, chopped (2-3 cups)
2 cups green beans, chopped into 1” pieces
1 large zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
1 bunch kale or swiss chard, washed and sliced into thin ribbons (feel free to substitute with other leafy green of your choice)
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock (if using store bought, choose low-sodium variety)
1 28oz can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp each basil and oregano
Juice from ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (or other spicy add-in), optional
Parmesan cheese to garnish, optional

Step 1 – soak lentils in water for 30 minutes

Step 2 – while lentils are soaking heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add leeks and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft, around 5 minutes.  Add minced garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes until very fragrant.

Step 3 – Add can of tomatoes with juice and stir around, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Use your spoon to break up the whole tomatoes unto smaller pieces.  Add 4 cups of broth and bring pot to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Step 4 – Add lentils and all the chopped vegetables to the pot along with remaining stock and dried herbs.  Cook, with lid askew, for 25-30 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.  You may need to add water if the soup gets too thick.

Step 5 – Stir in lemon juice, chili peppers (if using), and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve garnished with parmesan, and enjoy!  This hearty soup freezes really well, so be sure to put it into smaller containers so that you have easy, portioned out meals for later!

arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.