Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hearty Lentil-Orzo Soup

I'm not much of a vegan fact, I'm not at all. (I still have yet to enjoy tofu!) But, lentils are delicious, and when cooked correctly with the right ingredients, you don't even miss the meat.

This Lentil-Orzo soup is so healthy, hearty and full of flavor. Top it off with a dash of red pepper flakes and this soup comes alive. The original Better Homes & Gardens recipe called for barley, but I prefer the texture of orzo, a rice-shaped pasta. I've used fresh rosemary instead of dry, and the result was fantastic. (Common rule is 1 tsp of dry herb = 1 tbsp of fresh herb). Also, if you're looking to save money, one bag of lentils can make about 4 pots of this soup, or 4 meals!

Lentil-Orzo Soup
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
6 cups water (or 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock)
1 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup orzo
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes (omit if using stock)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
dash of red pepper flakes, to taste

1. Cook onion, celery and garlic in hot butter in pot. Cook until tender, but don't burn the garlic!
2. Add water (or stock), undrained tomatoes (break them up in the pot if needed), lentils, orzo, bouillon cubes (omit if using stock), rosemary, oregano, and pepper. Bring to boiling and reduce heat.
3. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Add carrots and simmer for 15 minutes or more until carrots are tender.
5. Salt to taste, and add a dash of red pepper flakes, to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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