Today was the first day that I wore a flannel shirt and jeans. I am thinking fall has unofficially arrived. Pretty soon I will have to exchange my air-conditioner and short-sleeve shirts for a thick comforter and sweaters. This also means that the menus I have been planning are slowly evolving as well.

Tonight I made my first soup of the fall season. I have been reading a cookbook called “Forks over Knives” which really emphasizes reducing meat and oils in your meals and replacing them with grains, beans and vegetables. I am by no means a vegetarian but I do appreciate the idea of upping my vegetable and grain consumption. This recipe appealed to me because it had so many good sounding starchy ingredients in it as well as some greens for added nutrition and color. It ended up being quick, filling and delicious. I served this soup with toasted pita triangles, goat cheese, and leftover cucumber and tomato salad (a small reminder of the end of summer).

Hearty Lentil Soup (adapted from “Forks Over Knives”)

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of split red lentils
  • 1  15 ounce can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 1  14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chunked Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1-2 teaspoons chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
  • 2 cups fresh chopped fresh chard (you can also sub collard greens or kale)

Place ¼ cup of the water in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes, until softened.  Add the ginger, paprika, cumin and several twists of freshly ground pepper.  Mix in well, then add the remaining water, the lentils, garbanzos, tomatoes and potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Add lemon juice, chili paste (start with 1 teaspoon and add more to taste) and chard.  Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until chard is tender.  Season with a bit of sea salt, if desired. Serve hot topped with a sprinkle of goat cheese or feta if desired.

The original recipe called for a simmer time of 50 minutes. However, by subbing in the split red lentils you can half the cooking time. Also, I know that the picture is not that appetizing looking but I was so hungry that I ate all my soup before I took a picture so this is a picture of what I will be having for lunch tommorrow. Make this soup on a cool fall night and you will go to bed with a full and happy belly.