I know I said that I was on a hiatus from life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, but this TYOH Healthy Lentil Soup recipe was amazing enough to change that–temporarily at least!;)
Now the only thing more daunting than an imminent final exam is looking around my apartment and realizing how much “stuff” (in lieu of a much more blunt and vulgar word that I would like to use) I have to box up to take home for the summer. Clothes, furniture, textbooks, and that random pile of lord knows what that’s been sitting at the corner of my desk for the past 3 months! I hope I’m not alone on that last item…
So I mentioned in a previous post that I absolutely love grocery shopping, therefore it didn’t surprise me today when I went to the kitchen cabinet and saw that I had a ton of pantry items still yet to be used. Beans, canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, tomato paste, rice, pasta, soup, etc. all that I’ve bought on a whim thinking, “Oh! I’ll figure out a recipe to use this bag of beans and tomato paste tomorrow night for dinner!” Well, once that “tomorrow” came,exhaustion or schoolwork forces prevents me from cooking anything more difficult than veggies and a portion of frozen tilapia that I just pop in the microwave (I know, I know…I probably just killed my culinary image and credibility with that meal). But tonight I vowed to myself that I would open a bag of something that I bought and create some kitchen magic so that I wouldn’t have as much food items to take home with my “stuff.”
Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, but let me toot my own horn (hence the name, Toot Your Own Horn Lentil Soup) 😉 my lentil soup became one of the BEST improv/pantry-clearing dishes I think I’ve ever created! Now I originally set off to make a lentil soup because I am obsessseeddd with the Fresh & Easy Market split pea and ham soup. At first I thought that I had bought a bag of split peas but it turned out that it was a bag of lentils=( Hmm well, I figured that lentils would still turn soft and break down like split peas, and if not, I could always puree the little suckers until they did resemble split pea soup! Now for my TYOH improv ingredient #2: Turkey Bacon = Ham Meat….I think so! I had half a package of Jennie-O Extra Lean Turkey Bacon left in the fridge–wait, let me first address this epic fail of mine that further proves why I am a horrible grocery shopper. I bought the pack thinking that I would make myself gourmet BLT’s, turkey bacon omelettes, sauteed spinach w/bacon, etc.! How many of these culinary creations do you think that I ended up doing? BIG FAT ZERO! None! This is embarrassing, but I ended up just opening up the bag and eating strips straight out of it as quick protein boosts throughout my day. Haha at first I wondered if that was even safe to do!?? Well, I didn’t get sick so College Survival Tip of the Day #1: If you ever find yourself one day trapped with only a package of Jennie-O Extra LeanTurkey Bacon, it is OKAY to eat it!
Back to my TYOT Healthy Lentil Soup. The Turkey Bacon provides the same salty, savory, meaty flavor that’s so delicious in split pea and ham soup while being significantly healthier (only 20 cals, .5 g fat, 0 carbs, 3g protein per slice).
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 1 medium onion on the verge of going bad (Just kidding about that one, that’s just how mine was;) I’m tellin you, these pantry items are killing me!)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 3 strips of turkey bacon chopped into bite sized pieces
- hearty handful of baby carrots chopped up into little disks (also a fridge leftover to be used up! yes!!)
- 1 large bayleaf or 2 small ones
- an arbitrary amount of water ranging between 1.5 cups – 2 cups
- salt (I used sea salt) and pepper to taste
- Give the lentils a rinse and pick out any dirt or stones, drain water out and set aside
- Pour a little cooking oil of your choice into a medium sized pot and begin by sautéing the onions and carrots, adding in the garlic after about 2 minutes, until slightly browned and softened
- Add in the slices of extra lean turkey bacon. Cook the bacon just enough so that it begins to release the rich, bacon flavor
- Pour in the lentils, followed by slightly more than 1.5 cups but slightly less than 2 cups of water (I apologize, but I made my first batch using 1.5 and had a great taste but had to add a smidge more water later in the cooking process, and I made a second batch with a little more than 2 cups and found it diluted some of the flavor)
- Have the flame on high until you see steam coming out from the lid and then turn down to simmer for about 23 minutes. Check for water levels and taste, adding in more seasonings or water if you would like until it reaches your desired consistency
Neither the process nor the product is really that attractive, but trust me when I say that the taste it there!!!
As you can see from the pictures there wasn’t enough water for this to turn into a soup, per say, but I’m glad that it didn’t! The flavor was so concentrated and the lentils+veggies were cooked enough so that they were soft and melty without being watery. This could easily become vegetarian if you take out the turkey bacon, maybe you can substitute it with another type of soymeat? Or, just add some braggs to give itAnd mm…the saltiness of the turkey bacon pieces with the soft, sweet goodness of lentils, carrots, and a different type of savory flavor. But the salty bite of the bacon with the softer ingredients is truly amazing….in a way it was like eating mashed potatoes and bacon? haha but in all seriousness this TYOH Healthy Lentil Soup recipe is extremely simple and quick. So try it the next time you have some random pantry items you need to get rid of and have fun with my arbitrary measurements. 🙂
Well I’m about to take off to a group project meeting and then recluse back into my cave. Bye world!