30 January 2017

Alphabentil Soup (veggie soup with pasta & lentils)

I'm not sure it's ever been two months in between blog posts. That's so sad for me (and for you, if you've been looking for new recipes).

A lot has happened since my last blog post. The end of last semester has come and gone, the holidays have passed, a new year has dawned, a new semester started, a new president has been inaugurated - after which protests against his actions have occurred, :"alternative facts" became a thing (?), and I've presented research with one of my undergrads at a conference. Oh, and I submitted my tenure portfolio. (EEEK!!) On top of all of that, it's still January, so the weather is chilly.

Given all of that craziness, I've been seeking out comfort. Comfort from my wife, from friends and family, from rogue twitter accounts and Swear Trek (so good! but includes copious amounts of swearing). I've also been seeking out comfort in the food I've been making and eating, like this soup.

At it's heart, this is nothing more than an unremarkable vegetable soup. But that's part of what makes it so comforting. With the addition of green lentils, with their warm savoriness and toothsome chew, and whimsical alphabet-shaped pasta, this simple soup becomes both comforting and craving-worthy.

You can just see a little pasta "V" below the broccoli in the center. 

Alphabentil Soup
1 medium/large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
a splash of white wine (optional)
8 c. No-Chicken broth
2 medium carrots, chopped
3/4 c. dried green or brown lentils
1 small head broccoli, in florets
1/3(ish) head cauliflower, in florets
1 c. frozen green beans (not French cut)
1/2 c. alphabet pasta (or other small pasta)

1. Saute onions over medium-high heat in a stock pot with a little bit of oil.
2. When onions are soft and getting a bit brown on the edges, add garlic and saute another minute.
3. Deglaze the pan with white wine (optional step!).
4. Add broth, carrots, and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and keep at a low boil for 12-13 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and pasta. Keep at low boil until pasta is al dente.

Helpful Hints
  • This seems like a small amount of pasta, but since it calls for small pasta, it works. Plus, adding too much more pasta makes the leftovers less like a soup and more like a stew. 
  • The 12-13 minutes for cooking the lentils should be a bit longer than 1/2 of their cooking time. The pasta cooking time makes up the rest of the necessary time to allow the lentils to get soft. However, if you're concerned, you should be able to chew your lentils, though they will be QUITE firm, before you put in the pasta.
  • We served this with a delicious no-knead bread (found here). There's a bit of time involved for this, but minimal effort!
  • I sometimes add a dash or two of paprika and black pepper while cooking, but sometimes just add black pepper to my own bowl. It's just as good either way!
  • If you use a soy-free broth, this is soy free! If you use gluten-free pasta (and double-check your broth), this is gluten-free!
The post "Alphabentil Soup" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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