Recipes: Lentil Soup

This soup is hearty and warming, perfect on a cold winter day. Lentils provide a good source of easily digestible vegetable protein.

Heat in a large soup pot, over medium-low heat:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Add and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes:

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz prosciutto or pancetta, or 4 slices bacon, diced (optional)

Stir in:

8 cups water
2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
One 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Bring to a  boil, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in

1 1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons salt (1 teaspoon if using the meat)
1 teaspoon  ground black pepper

Ladle into warm bowls

Recipe from The Joy of Cooking: All About Soups and Stews

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