Here's another absolutely awesome soup that's easy to put together, makes a ginormous pot of leftovers, and at a per-serving cost of only 60-70c, it might just be one of the most laughably cheap recipes in all of Casual Kitchen's history.
Oh, and it's one more nail in the coffin of the ridiculous notion that healthy food has to be expensive.
This is yet another triumphant recipe that I've adapted from Jay Solomon's Vegetarian Soup Cuisine, a book that we use so heavily here that, sadly, it's practically falling apart. I guess that's the definition of a truly good cookbook, isn't it? I hope you enjoy this healthy and hearty recipe as much as we do.
Tomato Lentil Soup with Orzo
(modified from Jay Solomon's Vegetarian Soup Cuisine)
1 cup lentils
10-12 cups water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped coarsely
4-6 celery stalks, chopped coarsely
6 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
2 Tablespoons oregano
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
4 cups potatoes, unpeeled and cubed coarsely
2 15-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/2 pound green beans, fresh or frozen
1) In a medium-sized pot, combine lentils and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes until cooked. Drain, but reserve 8 cups of the water (if there's less than 8 cups, don't worry about it, you can just add some additional plain water to the soup)
2) While the lentils are cooking, in a separate pot (you'll most likely need to use the largest pot in your kitchen), saute the onions, celery, garlic in the oil, over high heat, for about 3-4 minutes. Then reduce heat, add the spices, and saute for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, brown and stick to the bottom of the pan.
3) Then add 2 cups of the reserved lentil water. Deglaze the bottom of the pot. Then add the drained lentils, reserved lentil water/added water, and also add the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste and potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
4) Add the orzo and green beans and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Serves 12-14. Feel free to cut this recipe in half if you don't want to be buried in soup.
A few recipe notes:
1) A minor caution with this soup: there's a bit of "stick to the bottom" risk you should be aware of--specifically, the orzo has a knack for sinking straight to the bottom of the pot and gluing itself there. Just be forewarned, and when you get to step #4 of this recipe, be sure to give everything a good stir every minute or two until the orzo is done. Don't say I didn't warn you.
2) This soup makes a lot. Let me repeat: this soup makes a lot. Seriously, you will need your very largest pot to make this recipe. And if you happen to be one of those odd readers who, bizarrely, doesn't enjoy the sweet rewards of days and days of laughably easy-to-reheat leftovers, feel free to cut this recipe in half.
3) Also, you may find this soup thickens quite a bit after it cools off in your fridge. Feel free to add extra water before reheating to bring it to the consistency you like.
4) Did anybody notice that this soup is vegetarian? And yet it's so hearty and filling that even the most militant carnivores probably won't even notice. To me that's the definition of good vegetarian cuisine. It's so good, you don't miss the meat.
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