RECIPE for Lentil Quinoa Vegetable Soup Recipe
It’s no secret that when we cook for others, sharing and preparing food brings joy to those eating and perhaps even more happiness to the cook. Reflecting this positive influence on cooking as a wellness therapy, is a an increasingly popular trend in self-care called Cullinary Arts Therapy which is all the more popular and meaningful for many since the pandemic has driven many newcomers into the kitchen. The role of nutritious food is all the more meaningful now.
Studies indicate that helping and nurturing others, boosts our own wellbeing. In my personal experience if I make something delicious like a cake, that makes me feel good, but if it’s something particularly health- inducing, such as soup, I’m exponentially more satisfied and excited in offering the food.
I feel a particular sense of bonding when I prepare a good soup. I feel connected to my Chilean and Andean roots that centers on a hearty meal in a pot cazueala (Chilean word meaning pot and also soup itself ) and I pleasantly recollect my grandmother’s fragrant and calming liquid-gold chicken soup .
Who doesn’t want their kitchen and home to smell soothing and delicious? Soup made from scratch is nourishing, easy to prepare, and once you learn the basics of making stock, the variations are endless. All veggies are fair game, so throw in more vegetables to this basic recipe. You can use your stock in so many meals besides soup: pilaf, chile, beans, rice, poached chicken, Asian inspired stir fry, risotto to ratatouille. Endless combinations will emerge from this every day cook's essential food item, or what I like to call "capsule food item" an essential to build your meals.
My recipe for lentil -quinoa -vegetable soup is vitamin rich, antioxidant rich, with the additional advantage of plant-based protein rich.
This recipe makes a " brothy" type (compared to a creamy type) soup and the densely nutritious content fits the health criteria for On The Training Table.
If you are new to making soup from scratch, know that there is no exact formula. The more you make soup, the tastier and more savory and customized to your taste buds, the soup will become.
As you tweak the recipe (or decide to empty your fridge of produce contents like I frequently do) you will find any vegetable variations can make your soup fabulous and that would include celery tops and carrot leafy tops . The secret to this recipe is the stock you prepare as step one.
The following soup is a two-part process
First: Create your soup stock:
1) 4 carrots (large organic loose ones are best/ or 5 smaller carrots) cut in large pieces
2) 5 celery stalks cut in large pieces
3) ½ large sweet onion (cut in large pieces)
4) 1 zucchini ( cut in chunks)
5) ¼ Fennel (bulb and chopped feathery stems and tops can be used if its available at your grocery store. Will add a little savory sweetness note your stock)
6) Italian parsley plus chopped stems a large handful (no need to cut up more than once or twice to fit into pot)
7) Optional: adding Bouillon is a personal choice (I like “better than bouillon” 1 heaped teaspoon) but any will do and your soup will also be good without the bouillon-boost.
Ingredients continued for part 2 The following veggies will be set aside while you cook the stock above. Once your stock is made the ingredients below will be added.
8) Additional carrots (5 cut up in chunks to fit in soup spoons)
9) Additional 5 stalks celery stalks (cut into pieces)
10) Additional 1 zucchini cut into pieces
For last 10 minutes of cooking add:
11) Fresh spinach (1 1/2 cups tightly packed) chop coarsely/ if it is small leaf baby spinach you won’t need to chop, Set aside and add last 10 minutes
12) Fresh kale (1 1/2 cups tightly packed) chop and also add last 10 minutes
13) Chopped Italian parsley (set for garnish when serving)
14) lemon wedges (set aside for garnish when serving)
Plus: 15. 1 cup brown lentils
16. 1/4 cup quinoa
17. Salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
STEP 1 Make your stock:
Don’t worry about cutting these ingredients up carefully because you will be discarding the first set of vegetables and saving only the nourishing liquid (HOMADE STOCK) made from the vegetables. This is a one-step stock that does not require pan-sauté of veggies.
· Combine ingredients #1-6 and place in a large pot (carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, fennel, parsley).
1. Cut the fennel bulb in quarters and chop up some of the fennel top -they add flavor (aprox, 1 cup)
· Add 9 cups of water
· Add an optional CUBE OF bullion/ or tablespoon of “Better than Bouillon” Note bouillon adds flavor and salt to your stock but you can keep the recipe 100% plant-based without the bouillon if you prefer.
boil ingredients in water in large pot for an hour
Bring pot to boil. When fully boiling, lower heat and simmer one hour. When hour is up: take your pot off the stove and pour the soup through a large strainer into a large bowl or cooking pot to separate the vegetables from the liquid.
Separate with strainer
Let all the liquid drain from vegetables into your bowl or pot. I mash the soft vegetables in the strainer and press to extract every drop of flavor and nutrition into your soup.
Discard the mushy vegetables left in the strainer. You are set for part 2.
Take your liquid and pour into a large covered pot for phase 2 of your soup.
Cut up veggies #9- 11 (carrots, celery, zucchini) into sizes that will fit your spoon. Place the veggies into pot of your stock. Add in bouillon if you like.
Bring Your stock and veggies back to a boil. When boil point reached:
Add 1 cup of rinsed brown lentils
Add 1/4 cup of quinoa
Add salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
Total cook time about 35-45 minutes-or until your lentils have softened to your taste. I like mine a little al dente Your quinoa will take care of itself.
Add in remaining greens after 20 minutes: spinach and chopped kale.
Times varies depending on stoves or personal taste.
When serving: chop a handful of parsley for garnish. And a wedge of lemon for each person.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Note 1: if you need to add additional water because too much water is absorbed by the quinoa, add water to suit your consistency. The flavor of soup gets better after 24 hours so storing some for a few days only improves the taste.
Note 2: for quinoa, To avoid too much absorption of the stock- I often cook a cup of quinoa ahead of time, set it aside and scoop previously cooked quinoa into the bowls of soup with each individual serving, instead of adding it while soup is cooking. It means one extra step but it's worth it to avoid too much stock absorption.
Serves 8 Enjoy!