Lentil and Leftovers Soup

To be honest, this is more like a stew. A tasty, stick to your bones kind of dinner that will fill you up and leave you satisfied.

Are you looking for a way to use up your leftover veggies from last night’s dinner? That leftover baked chicken thigh from Monday? Look no further.

You want to know one of the amazing parts of this soup? It’s very low in fat! It’s actually relatively low calorie all in all, depending on what you add to it. I hope you decide to give this a try!

Ingredients:

  • One 10 oz package of Lentils, preferably brown
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup Tomato product (this could be a can of tomato paste, half a can of crushed tomatoes, leftover marinara.. just no ketchup!)
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons finely diced parsley
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and whole
  • 2 cups Pasta, preferably small shells, but any will do

Optional ingredients:

  • Leftover Chicken, or any meat really
  • Sliced Carrots
  • Peas
  • Diced Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Bacon
  • Peppers
  • The list goes on….

Cooking time: about 1 to 2 hours
Servings: A lot. At least 10. Maybe 12, maybe more.

You will want to slice your celery, peel the skin off your garlic cloves, and rinse your lentils really well. Slice your parsley finely.

Fill a large pot 3/4 of the way full with water. Add your lentils,  tomato product, parsley, and garlic and bring to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

If you’re adding additional raw veggies or meats, add them in now. If you’re adding leftovers, which is what I usually do, as this is a great soup to just throw all your leftovers into, then wait until your lentils have simmered for at least an hour.

After your soup has been simmering for at least an hour, you will notice that things have gotten a lot thicker and that your water has evaporated noticeably.At this point, taste your soup to check for the doneness of your lentils and to taste for seasoning.

We haven’t seasoned things yet because if you add salt to cooking lentils the shells tend to never turn completely soft. At least this is what I have been told.

Once your lentils are soft, bring your soup up to a more vigorous simmer, or a low boil, and add your pasta and any leftover ingredients you will be adding. For me, this was leftover chicken thigh and carrots from a previous dinner. If adding previously cooked meat you will want to add it in with your pasta to avoid drying it out.

Let your pasta and other additives simmer/boil for 10 minutes. You will need to stir frequently at this stage because your lentils will want to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once your pasta is cooked to your liking, turn the heat off and cover the pot with a lid and let sit for 10 minutes. This will cause the starches to perform their starchy magic and your soup will become more like a rib-sticking stew.

At this point, just serve up and enjoy!

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