This may very well be the best lentil soup of all time. For a variation, use 2 cups cooked rice instead of the pasta.
- 1 cup pasta, any (small or mini works well, but break up any long pastas, like spaghetti)
- 1 tablespoon oil or ¼ cup vegetable broth, for sautéing
- 1½ cups onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped (or your favorite herb)
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1 teaspoon salt (use less if vegetable broth contains salt)
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced or stewed tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire
- 1 teaspoon Deb’s Seasoning (page 269)
- 1 teaspoon grill seasoning to taste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup greens, chopped (any fresh or frozen: collards, chard, spinach or mustard)
- Croutons (page 270), for garnish
Cook pasta in lightly salted water according to al dente instructions. Save one cup of pasta water in a cup and set aside. Drain excess water. In large soup pot, heat oil (or vegetable broth) over medium-high heat and add onions. Cook until lightly browned. Add garlic, carrots, celery, tomato paste, parsley, and chives and salt. Add lentils and vegetable broth, pasta water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered. Add tomatoes, tamari, Worcestershire sauce, seasonings and red pepper flakes. Taste to adjust salt and add freshly ground pepper. Add chopped greens and cooked pasta. If soup seems too thick, add a little of the saved pasta water to thin. When heated through, garnish with croutons and serve.
- French lentils look prettier in soups than other varieties because they tend to hold their shape better when cooked. French lentils also have a wonderful rich flavor. They are dark green in color and smaller than the brown varieties.
- Lentils do not have to be soaked and take about 25 minutes to cook.