As I thought of what to make for dinner tonight, a cold breeze blew in threw the window and I thought, yup its time for lentil soup. A cold front has come through and the heat left as quickly as it came. I actually wore pants last night and a sweater when I woke up this morning. I love lentil soup. I have been eating it my whole life, but had to make it for myself the first time I moved out on my own with my best friend in San Francisco many years ago. It feels like forever ago but at the same time like it was just yesterday. I am a million miles from where I was back then, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for San Francisco.
Back then, dinners were usually some soup we made out of a vegan cookbook, takeout Indian food, or really fancy pizza typically followed up by a lagunitas or some drink made with the costco sized whiskey bottle in our fridge. I have a lot of fond memories walking home from work or school in the cold fog, coming home to our cozy apartment to make dinner together or getting ready to go out. I miss hearing the fog horns in the background as we sat on our free sidewalk kitchen table singing songs we made up for the different weirdo neighbors we could hear from our apartment. Lentil soup was definitely a staple back then, not only because it was warm but because it was cheap.
Today I made the same lentil soup I usually make, but I substituted red lentils which I haven't ever used for lentil soup. Crazy to think, this is the first time I have made lentil soup since those cold nights back in San Francisco in my early twenties. It brought back a lot of nostalgic memories and its funny how something as simple as a soup, or a scent can recall memories so vividly. I am not one with a great memory, whether I chose to forget things because I don't deem them to be important anymore or I just have a terrible memory, its nice to reminisce about these things sometimes.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 cup of red lentils
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 large carrot
1 celery stock
1/4 yellow onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
cumin, salt, pepper
Start off by dicing the carrot, celery and onion. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and toss in the veggies. Cook them for about 12 minutes until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened. Pour in the veggie broth and lentils along with the herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. It may seem like a lot of veggie broth in comparison to the lentils, but it will reduce a lot by the time the 30 min are up. Check the lentils after 20 min to see if they are soft enough. When its ready, serve with a few pieces of toasted bread or enjoy on its own.
This makes for the perfect filling meal on a chilly autumn evening. Pair with my vanilla chai tea and you are set to have a delicious meal for one or four. Let me know if you try it and how you like it!