How’s the weather where you are?
Is it still cold?
The beginning of March in NYC still has a little bite in the air even though the end of February gave us a nice glimpse into spring weather last week.
So if you’re still stuck in winter weather like me, I have just the thing. If not, just pretend you’re in your sleeping bag jacket and in desperate need of a recipe that will warm up what my dad calls “your kishkes” (or to the rest of us, your soul).
How does red lentil soup sound? My recipe is perfect for when you’re craving something hearty and comforting yet nutritious.
This soup has 6 ingredients and has convinced even the biggest lentil naysayers that these pink-hued legumes can taste so freaking good. Bonus? It takes less than an hour to make and requires minimal cleanup as it is a one-pot recipe.
The combination of simple ingredients that this soup calls for consists of things that are often hanging around in my fridge and pantry, allowing me to whip it up on a whim. Plus, this soup reheats up beautifully and the lentils provide plenty of plant-based protein and fiber, making it a perfect dish to have for lunch or a light dinner throughout the week.
Anything that is this delicious, super heart healthy, easy to make, and hits the spot on a cozy winter day gets an A+ in my book.
- 1 lb red lentils, picked over and rinsed very well
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 8 cups stock or water
- salt to taste
- Rinse the lentils very well until the water runs clear.
- Heat oil in a medium pot and sauté onions and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Add a pinch of salt.
- Add tomato sauce then add vegetable stock and the lentils. Stir well.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
- Serve hot. Delicious!
Mozzarella and tomatoes arguably make for the most perfect food pairing of all time. I am sure when people think of two items that go best together, the first things that come to mind are pairings like peanut butter and jelly or ketchup on fries. Both are excellent food pairings, but a forkful of pillowy chunks of fresh mozzarella mixed with a ruby red tomato, especially on a hot summer day, cannot be beat. One bite and you’ll get a sweet blast followed by a wonderful tomato flavor.
My recipe is not a typical caprese because I have added things like lentils and vinegar. Truth be told, I like it even better this way because the lentils turn a classic appetizer into a main dish. Sometimes I even add in a dollop of pesto and mix that in if I have some sauce sitting in my fridge (as homemade pesto tends to be a main staple in my house). If I REALLY want to make it an entree, I add farro, barley, sorghum, or another health supportive grain and my work is done! I typically make it the way that I am posting below, but if you have any other ideas to make it delicious, let me know!
The tomato crop from my dad’s garden this summer has been the best in years! I hope all of you fellow green thumbs are having a great tomato season as well. We have picked HUNDREDS of tomatoes this August, which was the inspiration for my tomato series. I have bags of tomatoes covering all of my countertops and a freezer filled with jars of tomato sauce that we will delve into with delight on a cold wintery night many months from now.
This salad holds up well in the fridge for several days and makes a great lunch to pack for work!
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons basil, chopped
- ¾ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the lentils well, discarding any rocks or discolored lentils.
- Place lentils and 2 cups salted water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn to low heat and cover the pot. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water if they are drying out.
- Drain cooked lentils of any leftover water and let cool in a large bowl. Gently stir in the olive oil and vinegar.
- Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I’m not sure if this was a dish on the original Yom Kippur table when they were breaking fast thousands of years ago, but lentils with pasta has always been on the Wolfson table that evening. We had a guest over during the occasion last month and he has been hounding me to post this recipe ever since. The best part is that he isn’t Jewish, so it wasn’t like he was fasting all day long and would’ve thought anything was delicious at that point– he was just hungry for dinner, as usual, and was blown away by this simple, yet flavorful dish.
There was a point when my mother made this dish so much when I was a little girl that I could hardly look at lentils, so it took me a few years to get back onto the lentil bandwagon. Despite my personal protest, my mother taught me how to make this meal and I am so grateful that she did because it is now one of my favorites.
Now that summer is a thing of the past, I am really trying to make the most of it by cooking fall/winter friendly recipes such as pasta e lenticchie. It is very easy and cheap to make while doubling as a figure-friendly dish! For my super-skinny variation, I make Lenticchie e scarola, aka lentils with escarole. I leave out the pasta and in its place add a 1/2 – to 1-pound head of escarole, chopped or shredded. This variation will have a soupier consistency.
Lentils and pasta are a traditional pairing in Italian cooking, and most of the regions in the southern part of the boot enjoy pasta con lenticchie in some form, usually in soups. In the future, I will post a variation of this dish where the lentils are cooked with other vegetables into a sauce that served as a delicious dressing for rigatoni. It was excellent that way—this sauce seems to me even more delightful as a dressing for whole-wheat or barley pasta.
I’ve been to restaurants before where orriechetti (also known as “little ears” macaroni) is used in this dish, but in my family, we always used Capellini, also known as capelli d’angelo (angel’s hair), broken into 2- or 3- or 4-inch lengths. I prefer using this very thin pasta and I love it because it cooks so quickly. Be warned: This is not soup. It should be very thick and it is eaten with a fork.
Pasta e Lenticchie (Pasta & Lentils)
Author: Michele Wolfson
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can or jar or tube of tomato paste (6 oz)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 bag of lentils
- 1- 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 lb of capellini pasta, broken into 3 inch pieces or Fideo Cut Spaghetti
- Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat.
- Add minced or pressed garlic, cook for a few minutes, but be careful not to brown.
- Add tomato paste, then put the stove on a on low flame. Watch carefully stirring frequently for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring another pot of salted water to a boil for the lentils. Once it comes to a boil, add lentils and simmer for about 30 min.
- Add the lentils to the pot with tomato paste and stir. Add the tomato sauce and additional water to the consistency that you want, 1-2 cups.
- Check the salt and pepper. Add if needed.
- Boil salted water for pasta. I usually use capellini and break it into about 3 inch pieces, but there is a new pasta that I found out there called Fideo Cut Spaghetti that is perfect because it's already broken all up. Drain and put the pasta in a serving bowl and add enough lentil mixture to keep it from sticking together. Put some in a soup bowl and add more lentils. I keep some of the pasta and the lentils separate so that the pasta doesn't suck up all of the liquid.