ITALIAN LENTIL SOUP

The first was that lovely time when the quiche refused to set up and the crispy potatoes were anything but crispy.  And the second — a few weeks ago — was that lovely time when I made a version of this soup in the slow cooker that was a little too slow and never quite got cooked.  Apparently I went to church and accidentally set the crock pot on “low” instead of “high”, and after dishing up everyone’s bowls, realized that everyone was crunching down on half-cooked lentils and veggies.
Of course, everyone was awesome as usual and acted like it was no big deal, and then kindly finished their crunchy lentils and un-crispy potatoes with a smile.  And I’m not one to sweat it out either, since cooking failures are a regular part of life here in my little ol’ Gimme Some Oven test kitchen.  But I am ready for the third time to be the charm.  (Because I swear I really can cook!)  ;)
Just to prove that to myself, I made another batch of this soup to test out the recipe.  And turns out, the second time making it was indeed the charm.  And it was so good that I wanted to share it with you too.  Well, the tested, non-crunchy, fully-cooked version, that is…
Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com
Really, this soup began as one of those clean-out-the-pantry-and-dump-everything-in-the-crock-pot kind of meals for me.  And since this boyfriend of mine is vegetarian, I decided to nix adding the Italian sausage (although I’d totally recommend it for you meat-eaters in this recipe).
The one ingredient that I did run over to the market to purchase was a big batch of collard greens.  Ever since I had Kathryne’s lentil soup while we were living in Austin, I’ve been obsessed with adding collards to my soups.  They taste great, they hold their texture amazingly, and they also add a nice bright green “pop” to any soup.  I’m now a total fan!
The second time around, I also experimented with making this recipe on the stovetop as well as the slow cooker.  And I’m happy to say that either will work!  If you do the slow cooker version, just keep in mind that lentils take awhile to cook.  So bargain for a little extra time than most slow cooker recipes usually require.
Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com
Once it’s done, you’re welcome to serve the soup “as is”, which also happens to be vegan.
Italian Lentil Soup -- this delicious soup is easy to make, and so comforting! It's naturally vegetarian (or vegan), but feel free to add in Italian sausage if you'd like extra protein. | gimmesomeoven.com
Or you’re welcome to load it up with Parmesan cheese and extra fresh parsley or basil, which would make this vegetarian.
However you make the soup, I feel like your batch is going to turn out great.  ;)  Enjoy!


INGREDIENTS:


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced white onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large carrots, peeled)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 celery stalks, leaves removed)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 7-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup rinsed lentils (red, green or brown)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups roughly-chopped collard greens
  • optional toppings: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, finely-chopped fresh parsley or basil


DIRECTIONS:

  •  STOVETOP DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrots and celery, and saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the stock, lentils, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, black pepper, and crushed pepper, and stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pot partially with the lid.  Keeping the soup at a low simmer, continue cooking for about 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the collard greens, and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the greens have softened.
  5. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Serve warm, garnished with optional toppings if desired.
  7. This soup can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

  • SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add the first 12 ingredients (through the red pepper) to a large 6-quart slow cooker, and stir to combine.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, until the lentils are tender and cooked through.
  2. Stir in the collard greens, and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the greens have softened.
  3. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Remove the bay leaves.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with optional toppings if desired.
  5. This soup can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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