This is one of my old time favorites. You'll notice a theme in my upcoming recipe positings. Not only are the recipes going to be healthy but they will also be relatively inexpensive (at least for healthy food). I will be the first to admit, eating this way has increased our budget. But I'm trying to cut back on the amount that we eat, rather than the quality. Poor Mikey can't stop losing weight. He's going to disappear soon if I don't get him a cheeseburger. Of course, my scale stopped going down - go figure.
Anyway - I've made this soup since I was in college and I still love it. Shared it with friends last weekend and they loved it.
Bag/pound of dried lentils
3 bay leafs
1 chicken or veggie bouillon (you can use stock instead of water if you prefer)
3-4 celery stalks
1 cup chopped or shredded carrots
1/2 chopped onion (optional - you get a lot of flavor from the celery)
3 garlic cloves
Big dash of sea salt and pepper
1 T olive oil (you can also just use water for sauteing if you prefer)
Saute all the vegetables in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils
Add 6-8 cups of water. The water level should be twice as high as the lentils. Then you bring to boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours. I like my soup to be more like "bean mash" (as Mike calls it) rather than watery. But you can edit the consistency by not cooking the beans till they are mushy or adding water as they soak it up. Just note that if you refridgerate leftovers (this recipe makes soup for about 6-8 servings) the juice gets soaked up so you'd need to add water during reheating.
Here I added stewed tomatoes which was really a great addition...
If you feel like being naughty, you can add a dollop of sour cream and/or shredded cheese on top, or some people like salsa. I've also seen a recipe for adding a can of stewed tomatoes as you cook the soup. That would be good but I haven't tried it.
Oh - and Kaelyn loves this soup too ;-)