For Christmas dinner this year, we decided that since the kids are all vegetarians, rather than cook 2 meals, we should just celebrate with some delicious vegetarian options. Maryanne always makes a huge batch of stuffed shells, so we asked Molly to choose something else - preferably without pasta. Looking through recipes that have been saved from long ago email lists (and PLEASE, if this is your recipe, please let me know), she chose this soup. Between the 2 households, we have made this at least 6 times in the last month. It is that delicious. You need a large (2 gallon minimum) soup pot for this - or alter the recipe to make a smaller batch.
It freezes beautifully, is acceptable to most special diets, and is very hearty. I make it with a lot of cayenne, Maryanne uses a lot less. I add other spices, she does not. Versatile. We like that.
It's about to dump a lot of snow here (maybe), so I'm putting together another batch to have on hand.
Here's the recipe:
Spicy Tomato Lentil Bean Soup
1 or 2 large garlic
3 nice big sweet red bell peppers
, seeded and diced
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 large (48 oz) carton chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups lentils
, (pre-cooked - I simmer them in water while cutting up the onions and peppers... maybe a little longer.)
2 large cans of any kind of beans (kidney
, romano, garbanzo, butter, whatever you like - well rinsed
1 bunch kale
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 to 3 tsp. cayenne
Parmesan cheese for garnish/flavoring
Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Add diced onions and cook 2 minutes to soften but not brown.
Add garlic and stir, cooking another minute.
Add diced red peppers and cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add tomatoes and juice. Cook and stir...
Add in broth and bay leaves.
Add cayenne, stir.
Add lentils and beans, stir well.
Add in the balsamic vinegar.
Chop the well rinsed kale into bite-sized pieces and add that to the pot and stir.
The mixture should be at nearly a boil, so lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaves.
Use stick blender or regular blender to puree about 1/3 of the soup.
I have pictured canned beans, tomatoes, and broth. By all means, if you prefer dried beans, your own canned or frozen tomatoes, and your own homemade broth, please use them. Just know that there's a chance that you'll love this soup so much that what you've stored away will not last very long :-)