Monday, February 7, 2011
I know what you might be thinking. Lentils and macaroni?? What the heck kind of combo is that? It sounds like something that a college student throws together when they don't know how to cook. Believe me, I did too. But something about it made me want to try it and I'm glad I did.
This soup is a great healthy comfort food that is filling, but not full of calories and fat. It's perfect when you're watching both your waistline and your wallet as the ingredients are cheap and stuff we usually have on hand. Each serving, which is a hearty 2 cups (an entire soup bowl!) is only 200 calories and 3 grams of fat!
I got the recipe from newest recipe book that my mom got me, Good Housekeeping's Soups and Stews. Yes, she has gotten me another one (2 actually) since the last blog entry. That woman knows my weakness and keeps me supplied. I made a few adjustments to make it suit my taste. I added a bit of lemon to brighten up the flavors and put in some bullion to add some depth. The original recipe called for Swiss chard, but I only had spinach on hand, and I think it worked very nicely.
Serve with some crusty bread for a healthy and hardy meal!
Lentil and Macaroni Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed with garlic press
1 can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree (or crushed tomatoes in juice, if unavailable)
1 can (14 ounces) vegetable broth
3/4 cup lentils
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon vegetable bullion (if you don't have, add a bit more salt to the soup)
6 cups water
1 pound fresh spinach
3/4 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a nonstick 5-to-6-quart Dutch oven (or large soup pot), heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add carrots, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes with their puree, broth, lentils, salt, pepper, thyme, bullion and water; heat to boiling, stirring to break up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in spinach and macaroni; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, until macaroni is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if you like, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.