Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me, you had a really good holiday season.
Like, it was delicious. Scrumptious even. Cakes, cookies, chocolate, copious amounts of cheese (usually baked up with its old friend macaroni), and more than a few recipes from our Comfort Food cookbook.
To really celebrate the new year in a culinary way, I pulled down my copy of the brand-new Cooking Fresh, which is filled with over 160 recipes featuring fresh-from-the-garden (or produce aisle) ingredients. Many of these recipes are on the lighter side, so a great way to stick to those healthy New Year’s resolutions.
Over the next several months, this blog will feature recipes from Cooking Fresh and to get started I made Lentil and Brown Rice Soup.
If you’ve never worked with lentils, they can be a little intimidating. Kind of like using dried beans for the first time. This recipe is a perfect introduction to lentils offering ease-of-use, great taste, and all the benefits of this healthy legume, including protein (especially important for non-meat eaters) and fiber for heart and digestive health.
Did I mention how incredibly easy this recipe is? It is…even though my results were less soup-like than I would have expected (not a bad thing). Let’s get started and I’ll tell you all about it!
Lentil and Brown Rice Soup
Makes 6 servings
- ¾ cup brown rice
- 1 cup dried lentils (NOTE: I used green lentils, which are really versatile, but I imagine you can use which ever variety you like the best.)
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups chicken broth (NOTE: I used vegetable broth.)
- 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
All of the ingredients for Lentil and Brown Rice Soup sans the bay leaf. I added some purple carrots, because…purple.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the rice, lentils, onion, celery, carrots…
It's like “healthy” in a pot.
basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, chicken broth, and tomatoes.
A whole bunch of healthy. All hail the New Year?
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lentils and rice are tender.
Insert Jeopardy! theme song here.
Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
So, not really a soup, but pretty darn delicious. It almost made me not miss chocolate and cheese. Almost.
As you can see, my final dish was far less soup than a really hearty stew. About 40 minutes into simmering, I noticed all of my liquid was almost gone, but my rice and lentils were still a bit crunchy. I added another ¾ cup of vegetable broth, stirred, and let everything simmer for another 20 minutes to give the rice and lentils time to finish cooking.
I will admit to not using the bay leaf—sorry, I didn’t have one on hand—but I don’t think that likely made much of a difference in my soup/stew.
Even though this recipe turned out far less soup-like than I would have thought, it was completely delicious—full of flavor and nice textures that are perfect for a winter evening at home (without chocolate or cheese).
Happy New Year and here’s to you and your resolutions—whatever they may be!
Want great, fresh-from-the-garden recipe ideas? Pick up a copy of Cooking Fresh!