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SLOW COOKER LENTIL SOUP

I love lentils cooked any way – especially in soup.  The other day was a particularly busy day and on my way home from town I had one more stop to make at our local health food store.  Once in the door, something smelled heavenly (I was starving too as it was lunch time).

Our local health food store is owned by a lovely Iranian gentleman and his wife.  I asked him what smelled so good, and he pointed to a crock pot on the counter that was filled with Lentil Soup.  So then I asked him if it was gluten free.  He said all of his food is gluten free and this soup was also vegetarian and vegan.  Yayyyy gluten free soup!  He said that it was simple, good food.  Groceries in the bag, a take out bowl of soup in my other hand, time to go home.  Once the groceries were put away, I eagerly sat down to have the soup.  It was delicious!  Very simple flavors, in fact, I’m not even sure what kind of spices he used.

So today’s recipe was inspired by this lovely gentleman’s Lentil soup.  One thing is for sure:  I will definitely be going back to his store for more!

3/4 cup red lentils

3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 large shallots, chopped

3 large minced garlic cloves

2 Tblsp. finely chopped ginger

1 tsp. Curry Powder – I used my favorite – Cartwrites

1 bay leaf

salt to taste

1  28 oz. can whole tomatoes (place a sieve over an 8 cup glass measuring cup. slice up the tomatoes, give the sieve a good stir a few times and drain all the liquid into the measuring cup. This gave me 2 1/2 cups tomato liquid, then add enough water to reach the 7 cup level)  For a thicker soup, add 1/2 cup less water.

3/4 cup diced celery including leaves

1 cup diced carrots – about 1/2 inch in size

3 medium leeks, chopped

Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add the chopped shallots, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, then add in the curry powder and continue to saute 1 more minute.  Season with salt.

Transfer to a med/large crock pot and add all of the remaining ingredients stirring well.  Cook on high for 1 hour, then turn to low and cook for 8 more hours.

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