Red lentils are like regular brown lentils’ exotic cousin.
Their bright orange color and petite size mean they are both prettier and faster cooking, yet they have all the flavor, protein and fiber of their more common kin.
Following is my impossible-to-mess-up, good enough for company, favorite french lentil dish.
French Lentil Soup with White Wine and Fresh Thyme.
Serves a crowd.
2 cups Red lentils
1 1/2 cups dry white wine such as chardonnay
8 cups veggie broth or 4 cups water + 2 t/l veggie bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon)
4 large carrots
4 celery stalks
2 onions, any kind
3 zucchini, cut into quarters and then chopped
2 t/l fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp of dried in a pinch)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Toss carrots, celery and onions into a food processor and pulse until they form a paste. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Toss in mixture with a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring often, for ten minutes.
Add lentils and all liquid, and bring to a boil. Add spices including bay leaves salt and pepper, lower to simmer and cook 7 minutes.
Add zucchini and continue to cook another 5 minutes or until lentils are soft and zucchini is fork tender.
Remove bay eaves and pour in generous bowls, garnishing with fresh thyme sprigs and a swirl of olive oil, croutons or pita chips.
Serve with a salad of fresh greens, tomatoes and cucumber with Macerated Avocado Dressing and a crusty loaf of warm bread for a hearty meal with true European flair.
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Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Robert Judge/Flickr