Over the weekend, I got out my crock pot and made a thick, vegetarain lentil and quinoa soup. Though meatless, this dish packs a powerful nutritional punch. Lentils are an excellent source of protein, iron, phosphorus, copper, folate, manganese and dietary fiber. And if that's not enough, quinoa contains all 8 amino acids, making it a complete protein all by itself. Carrots give you plenty of vitamin A [beta-carotene]. The tomato sauce provides vitamin C. Mushrooms have a bit of protein, vitamins B6, C, D and minerals, including zinc, folate, potassium, manganese and selenium. This delicious, one-pot meal is so simple to prepare. Here's how:
16 oz (equals 2 cups or one bag) lentils
8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced [I used white cap mushrooms.]
4 large carrots, sliced
4 celery sticks, sliced (include the leaves)
1 large onion, diced
1 8 oz can no salt tomato sauce
14 cups water
4 large [double] bouillon cubes (or 8 small-single cubes)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
12 turns of the black pepper mill
dash of red pepper flakes
dash of paprika
dash of parsley
dash of celery powder
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon rosemary
8 oz (equals 1 cup) quinoa
1. Throw all the ingredients, except the quinoa, into a 6 quart slow cooker (or large pot on top of the stove).
2. Cover and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for 1 ½ hours.
4. Add the quinoa, and simmer for another half hour.
Because of the salt in the bouillon cubes, you can omit additional salt. Using dried spices will intensify the flavor. However, you can use fresh garlic and/or leave out the dried celery if you wish.
Recently, I stopped buying canned soups. Not only is homemade less expensive, it's just better in every way! So hearty and easy to make. Most soups, including lentil, freeze well. I divide it up into 16 ounce containers. One batch makes fast, convenient lunches and dinners later.
When all the ingredients are tender and blended together, you are ready to eat. If you like, make a leafy green salad, add slices of crusty bread, and pour your-grown-up-self a glass of red wine. Bon Appetit!
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