Lentil soup is one of our winter staples in this house. It's usually begun by sautéing onions, carrots and celery. Kinda hard to do when you don't have carrots or celery and need the onion for that night's dinner. Some weeks run more smoothly than others. Other weeks, the days escape you and then there's an ice storm and you have hungry mouths to feed and an unusually empty-ish refrigerator.
That's when it's time to take a look at your pantry staples and freezer. In fact, I think it's exactly for times like these that we freeze extra produce and stock up on staples!
So with lentil soup in mind, I looked around my freezer and pantry. I found leeks I froze from my CSA share, frozen spinach, canned tomatoes, a jar of roasted garlic, dried lentils and bouillon. Couple ingredients from the spice cabinet and bingo: lunch is served.
My 5 year old helped herself to seconds and thirds of this soup. My 7 year old told me I should have my own cookbook. Oh, flattery will get you everything. But I know the truth: I'm a mother intent on serving my family healthy meals, even when I don't make it to the store. And a health coach, intent on helping other women do exactly the same for theirs.
Lentil "I didn't make it to the store" Soup
Serves 4 hungry ice bound family members
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (I used frozen)
1 tsp roasted garlic
6 cups water
1 TB Better than Boullion
1 1/2 cups lentils (rinsed)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups frozen spinach
16 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
In a soup pot, sauté the leeks and garlic in the olive oil. (If you're leeks are not frozen like mine were, you may need to add a splash of water to prevent the leeks from sticking and burning.)
Once the leeks are softened, add the water, bouillon, lentils, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then reduce. Simmer for about 40 minutes until the lentils are soft.
Finely chop the spinach (even if using "chopped spinach") into spoonful sized pieces or smaller.
Add the spinach and tomatoes to the soup and simmer another 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves before serving.
* I have to be honest and say that the soup is gone, but if it weren't, my bet would be that it would taste even better tomorrow. And it would freeze really well. This recipe is a good one to double.