Lucky Lentils

I love that different cultures associate different foods with luck. For the Italians, its lentils… “thought to resemble coins, lentils are eaten throughout Italy for good fortune in the New Year”.

I make a really delicious and healthy lentil soup so I thought a big pot of lentil soup would be a great thing to make to kick off our healthy new year. There are a few recipes that must have come to me through osmosis and this is one of them. I remember growing up and smelling my Dad’s lentil soup wafting through the house while it cooked all day in his crock pot. My recipe simplifies things a bit- cooking time is less, no crock pot needed- but it is still hearty, and yummy. Make it for yourself and enjoy it for lunch all week or serve at a brunch gathering like I did for Nicole’s craft brunch. Anyone you make this for will feel lucky!

Many of the ingredients are pantry items.

Dani’s Lucky Lentils

4 cans (15 oz.) lentils, rinsed*

1 small onion- about 3/4 C, minced

Handful mini carrots- I always have snack carrots in the fridge

Handful snack celery– I often have snack celery in the fridge

5 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil

Wide Wheat Noodles (love the Shiloh Farms sprouted wheat version)

Chicken broth- 5 to 7 Cups

Parmesan rind

2 tsp Oregano

S&P to taste

1 lg bay leaf

Garnishes:

Roasted garlic

Grated Parmesan

Red pepper flakes

Bacon or crisped proscuitto (if you are not doing the health thing this week!)

Mince “the trinity” (I use my Cuisinart chopper for this since its so quick!)- Onions first, then celery and carrots. Add to heated pot with 2 tbsp olive oil, s&p and sauté for two minutes till mushy and fragrant. Add minced garlic and sauté another minute. Add rinsed lentils, stir to combine. Add 5 C chicken broth, oregano, bay leaf, Parmesan rind. Bring to bubbling boil then let simmer on low for one hour.

Add wide wheat noodles (the wheat noodles are a healthier option and also hold up nicely in this soup without getting mushy)- for lots of noodles add 2 Cups for less add carbs add 1 Cup. Add 1 or 2 Cups more of broth depending on desired thickness and heartiness. Let simmer for another 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and rinds (the rinds are delicious- try a piece!). For extra flavor, I like to finish this soup with 2 large cloves of diced up roasted garlic (which I always have in the fridge).

This soup is hearty and delicious and will serve about 6 to 8 people. Serve it with grated cheese and some crusty bread.

My resolution this year was to ‘take bigger bites!‘ (Mostly in business and life since I already have eating well covered) May luck find us all in 2012! Xo Dani

*SDB Tip: Of coarse you can use dried lentils that are soaked overnight but like many people, I rarely have that kind of time

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