ITALIAN LENTIL SOUP

ITALIAN LENTIL SOUP

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 red lentils
  • 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.

NOTE:

*If making this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock instead of chicken.

**If making this recipe vegan, use vegetable stock and omit the cheese.

***If you would like to add meat, I recommend browning 1 pound of Italian sausage in a skillet separately.  Then drain the grease, and stir the sausage into the soup.

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