Sometimes, our budgets don't allow for lobster.
Or ground beef.
Remember when we talked about the humble oat? Well I have a frugal dish that is made with another humble ingredient that I truly love!
(I can hear the crowd going “oooohhhh! aaaahhhhh!”)
I know you're excited, you don't have to pretend around me. We're friends, remember?
Lentils are an inexpensive way for the po' man to get his protein. I love 'em. Little chunks of goodness is what they are. So onward and upward to a soup that will warm you from the toes up in all it's wintery, inexpensive, simplicity.
Red Lentil Soup
(Adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
You will need:
- 2 shallots
- 1 onion (I didn't have shallots this time, so I used another onion)
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 6 cups good quality vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water (more if you need it!)
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups red lentils (honestly, use whatever color lentil your heart desires)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step One: Cut up your onion and shallots into teeny-widdle pieces and saute in olive oil or butter in a large soup pan. Add the red pepper flakes, dried rosemary, and dried thyme. Cook the onions and shallots until they start to caramelize. I like to add a few pinches of salt at this point, too.
Step Two: Once the onions are nice and tender, add your broth or water and bring to a boil.
Step Three: Once your broth is boiling, add your lentils and rice. Just dump 'em right in there.
Step Four: Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. The lentils will cook way down into a nice, thick, rich slop-of-sorts. I realize that some of you will not make this now, since I have described our wonderful soup as “slop”. I do apologize. Salt some more here. If you need to add some more liquid to get it to the consistency you desire, feel free to do so.
Step Five: Once the rice and lentils are completely tender, dish up this bad boy and enjoy! We have topped ours with everything from feta, to parsley, to toasted pine nuts, to sour cream. The world is your oyster, top it with whatever you desire. I always add a wee more salt and fresh ground pepper at this point. Depending on the broth you use, you may have to add more. Just give it a taste and add the salt to your liking.
Step Six: That's all. There is no step six.
While this soup sure isn't going to win any beauty pageants, it really is a delicious, frugal soup that feels good in your tummy. And hello fiber! We love fiber. I know I have lots of poor friends out there looking for tasty, whole food recipes, so let me know what you think!
Get your lentil on, ladies!
If you see me driving around town with a bumper sticker that says this, please honk and wave. At least out of pity.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.