I love fall. It means the earth is preparing for a winter nap, it means the air will get crisp, the colors on the mountain sides will be in their full glory, and there is something about the smells and tastes of fall that I love. Cinnamon, apple spice and pumpkin pie, I love those scents! My meal planning changes in the fall too, and we bring in the comfort foods that will get us through the winter months. Hubby likes to remind me that “it’s almost chili weather” and I am thrilled to know I can dine on soups that I love so much. I make a pretty mean chili or so Hubby says but I prefer the bite of a southwestern style lentil soup I whip up. I make a huge pot so I can enjoy it over and over for lunches. So perfect with a hunk of bread for dipping.
I never use an exact recipe but the steps are pretty cut and dry. Ingredients are simple and you can tweak them to suit your own tastes. I use a 10 oz package of lentils, rinsed. Chop a 2-3 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and a small onion.
Saute the vegetables in some olive oil until the onions are clear.
Toss them in the soup pot with your lentils. Add a 15oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, a 10oz can of Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles), a 32 oz container of vegetable broth, a generous dash of Italian seasoning, and a small dash of cayenne pepper. (probably 1/4 – 1/2 tsp) depending on your taste. Salt and pepper to taste. If the broth does appear to be enough, I add just enough water to nicely cover the ingredients.
Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until lentils are tender. This can also be cooked in the crockpot! Don’t over cook, you don’t want a pile of mush in your soup bowl!
This soup is perfect served with a loaf of French bread on a crisp fall night. It also reheats well for leftover night or for healthy, delicious lunch the next day!