I was given a ham bone at church yesterday (don’t ask), which gave me a perfect excuse to make one of my favorite quick, easy and nutritious meals: lentil soup. Lentils, unlike most legumes and beans, do not require overnight soaking.
1 lb bag dried lentils
1 cup (approx.) chopped onion
1 cup (approx.) chopped celery
1 cup (approx.) chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, whole, crushed
6-8 cups of hot water
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
dash of apple cider or distilled vinegar
Seasonings to taste (sea salt, freshly ground pepper, seasoning salt, fresh parsley)
Cubed ham or ham hock, optional
Vinegar for serving, optional
Before cooking, pour lentils out on a clean counter and quickly sort through them for any little rocks, then rinse well. In a large pot, mix lentils with hot water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Add ham, if using. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes, with lid tilted. Turn down heat to low and simmer until desired consistency is reached. Add seasonings to taste.
During the cooking process, lentils will absorb the liquid. Add water or broth for more or less “soupiness.” Serve hot, with or without a dash of vinegar.
Lentils are a nutritional All-Star:
- One-fourth cup of lentils contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber – 43% of your daily value — and no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, 320mg of potassium and 20% of your daily value of iron.
- Lentils also contain high levels of protein, high levels of minerals, and are very low in calories.
- Lentils are an excellent source of iron, especially for celiacs.