gardener's red lentil soup

Autumn screams and whispers for soups. I like the ease of soups and soupmaking. I just have to chop some vegetables, onions, garlic, bell peppers, broccoli. Let the onions fry a little, and then the soup takes care of itself. After some simmering I have a lunch, supper, snack. This soup is easy to make and red lentils add protein, thickness and hearty taste.

The original source of the recipe is lost for me, but this is pretty basic stuff so probably no harm done posting! I've modified it quite a bit too. I think this was called the Mediterranean soup in the original recipe, dunno why really. Feels more like harvesters' fest to me. The soup is easy to alter, you can add whatever is in season. Use fresh ripe tomatoes now they're still cheapish and good, or add more zucchini if your harvest has been generous. When winter comes, add more root vegetables.

Gardener's red lentil soup

1-2 onions, red or ordinary ones
3 garlic gloves
2 tsp dried rosemary or fresh/dried thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2-3 carrots
1-2 bell peppers, red and/or yellow
1 smallish zucchini
3-4 celery stems (optional, you could also use fennel)
1 liter good quality vegetable broth*
400 g crushed tomatoes or ripe diced tomatoes
2 dl red lentils

Chop the onions and garlic gloves. Roughly chop washed carrots, bell peppers, zucchini and celery stems. Heat olive oil in a kettle, add dried rosemary (If using fresh thyme add it last, when soup's almost finished). Add onions, fry for few minutes. Add carrots, simmer a while. Add rest of the veggies, broth, crushed tomatoes and lentils.

Let simmer on low heat until lentils and carrots are cooked, from fifteen to twenty minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, serve with bread. I like to add a dollop of natural soya yogurt to my soup, gives a nice little-a-bit sour touch.

(click to see larger photo)

I'd imagine chickpeas or pasta would also work in this kind of soup. If cooking times of ingredients are approximately the same you could throw in pretty much anything.

*Use good quality bouillon cubes or make your own veggie broth for maximum taste. I shamelessly endorse Reformi Bouillon cubes. They crumble softly when you crush them, are organic and apparently glutamate free, and look great in glass jar on a kitchen shelf. Like little chocolate candies in their golden wrapper, sweet.

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