Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spice Up Your Lentil Soup

I have been making lentil soup for the little peanut since she started on solid food.  She started from plain pureed lentils, then I added one ingredient at a time t until I was sure she did not have allergies to any of it.  I usually make one big pot and freeze them in containers to take for lunch to the babysitter's.   It's convenient and healthy, and so much better than the canned Spaghetti-O many parents resort to feeding their kids.  The truth is my daughter has not been fond of eating commercialized, preservative loaded toddler food.  She likes what we grown-ups eat, she likes flavors and at 2 years old she likes to try everything.  I am not trying to say she is a voracious eater as certainly there are days when she does not like to eat anything at all (as some toddlers do).  That's when I get stressed, force her to eat and oftentimes it results to melt downs.  But I learned that the best thing to do is to not mind her at all during dinner.  I try not to say stuff like, "yummy, it's delicious!"  or "good, you're eating" ...  It's more likely that she will finish her food if I ignore her and go about my own business.   And if she does not eat, I do my best to stay calm and not worry.  It's hard, but I read somewhere that kids will eat what they need when they need it.  I find it to be true.  Thankfully the little peanut always eats her lunch and that's why I try to pack as much nutrients as I can in the form of soups.

I often make this Lentil soup out of the cooked lentils I buy from Trader Joe's but using dried French green  lentils is also good.  Just boil the dried lentils in water until tender, about 20 minutes then proceed with the directions as follows.

Lentil Soup

1 package cooked lentils (from Trader Joes)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp EVOO
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 table spoon curry powder (If you are not into curry though just omit the curry powder and it will still be good.  )
1Quart chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes and saute until it starts to breakdown.
  2. Add carrots and celery,  saute until the vegetables start to sweat, about 7 minutes.  
  3. Add salt and pepper, curry powder (if using) and turmeric.  Enjoy the aroma!
  4. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and bring to a boil.  
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes then add cooked lentils.  Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat until lentils are cooked to desired doneness.

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