One of the staples in my pantry are beans.
I’ve used them in many different ways on their own, soups, dips and main dishes. One of my favorite meals especially during the winter is bean soup, especially lentil soup.
Are lentils beans or peas? According to Mayo Clinic, lentils are considered beans since they grow in pods. They are also high in protein, fiber, folate, iron and fiber. There are three types of common varieties: brown, green and red.
It is easiest to find the brown lentils, but at Trader Joes and Kroger’s I have also seen the red and green lentils. I prefer the dried bean in most recipes, but the ready- to eat- variations may be good on salads.
Tip: Brown lentils are a good substitute for black beans or cannellini beans in soups. Red lentils cook quickly, and are best in purees.
If you want a delicious dinner, check out the below recipe inspired by marthastewart.com
I’ve made a few adaptions to the original over the years as noted below, but it is still become one of my favorites.
3-4 strips of bacon (or cubed ham steak*)
1 chopped onion
3 peeled medium sized carrots, cut into ¼ inches
3 minced garlic cloves
8oz tomato sauce*
1.5 cups lentils
½ teaspoon thyme
3 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth*)
1 ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper
In a dutch oven cook bacon or ham over medium low heat until browned and crisp. I pour off the fat, so it is not present in the soup. I just want the flavor.
Add onion and carrots and cook until softened, stir in garlic and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce and cook 1 minute.
Add lentils, thyme, broth and 1 ½ -2 cups water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until lentils become tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in salt and pepper. Serve