Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Take On Ham and Bean Soup - Lentil Veggie Style!

I promised my family I would hold off on making soup this week, but I can't help myself... I love soups! Everything you need in a meal is all warmed into one delightful bowl. Couple that with the comfort of a steaming batch of soup on a cold wintry day and you have a match made in heaven. Today, with the snow falling around us, I could not resist making soup. So, what started off as a batch of lentil stew somehow manifested into a remake of an old flavor that I love...ham and bean soup, melded together with a variety of antioxidant rich vegetables and complimentary tastes! Here is a much healthier version of a ham and bean soup, that is sure to please. It has even passed the kid test (Bean gives it thumbs up, particularly, the broth). Enjoy -

Ham Bean and Vegetable Soup - Lentil Veggie Soup Gluten free and dairy free

1 cup dry lentils - rinsed well
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Put the above ingredients together in a pot and bring to boil, covered. Let cook at a slow boil while you begin the next steps:

Gather the following ingredients:
1 cup mushrooms - rinse and chop
1 cup carrots - clean and chop
1/4 - 1/2 cup nitrate free ham (or bacon), diced small
1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
Set aside for now.

In a second pan over medium heat, add the following:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion - diced/chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
3 tablespoons dried parsley
cook for 2 minutes, until onions soften.

Add 1 small package/bunch cleaned bite size spinach.
Cover and let wilt.
Pour contents of all containers into the larger pot of broth and lentils.
Let cook, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until lentils are softened and done.

Variation: Vegetarian lentil soup - omit ham and use only vegetable stock.