As you may or may not know, things have recently changed for me.
I have been in Cusco, Peru for a month learning Spanish, and will be spending another month here before gallivanting around South America. Our home is a tiny apartamento.
And as I expected, things are very, very different here.
For example, eggs are sold in bags.
And pineapples look like this:
And as far as home-making goes, the biggest change? We only have one piece of cooking equipment:
No oven, no microwave, no toaster, just this little guy.
And these are just the changes of home living. The streets, shops, restaurants, and everything here seem to function differently. Its not bad. In fact, its beautiful, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience a different part of the world. So lucky.
Of course, being a person who has a one track mind (food), that is what I am going to focus on.
So far, we have eaten some incredible meals, like the vegan stand in the fresh market who makes the best falafel and soup I have ever hand. And on the other hand, we have had some hilarious kitchen mishaps (like beans we cooked for 2 days that were still hard, and quinoa stir fried with rocks). But honestly, there are many things you can do with a just a stove- I even found a recipe for stove top cookies, and those will definitely be tried very soon.
Lentil soup is something I have been making for years, and its wicked easy. And Honestly, if there were one piece of nutrition advice I could give people it would be: EAT MORE LEGUMES.
The tough thing is though, most people have never cooked lentils, and don’t know how to cook them. I personally make them at least once a week, and find them to be versatile and filling. And since its pretty cold here, lentil soup hits the spot.
The good thing about this recipe is that you do not have to follow it to a T. I’ve used turnips, celeriac, shallots, and green onions in place of the vegetables and it always turns out great. The hardest part of the whole thing? Remembering to soak the lentils beforehand. Remember to do that, and you’re a superhero.
I promise that this will satisfy the legume skeptics and the meat die hards. It really is tasty.
1 cup of dried brown lentils, soaked and drained*
2 tsp of olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter (whatever oil you have on hand is fine really)
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced white onion
3 cloves of garlic
4-6 cups of broth (chicken and/or vegetable work well)
2-4 tsp of your favorite spices (I like oregano, rosemary, chives, sage, or turmeric)
salt and pepper to taste
*Soak lentils in water the night before you plan on making this recipe. Soak in a container large enough to have at least three inches of water over the lentils as they will swell with time. Alternatively, you can use the quick cooking method: combine 3 cups of water to 1 cup of dry lentils in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until tender (usually takes about 45 minutes.)
In a large soup pan, place your oil, and heat on medium heat until glistening. Add in onions and saute for 2-4 minutes. Add garlic, and once fragrant, add in celery and carrot, as well as a dash of salt and your spices.
Saute vegetables until soft, and feel free to add in a bit of broth if they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. You can also put on the cover and let them sit for a minute or two, you don’t have to constantly stir.
Once vegetables are soft, add in your drained lentils and your broth. Keep the heat on medium until boiling, then turn to low and let simmer for about half an hour. Taste the lentils to make sure they are soft, and add salt and pepper to taste. If they need to cook for a little bit longer, keep on low, and depending on how watery the soup is at this point, you also may want to add in a bit more broth. At this point, I like to mash some of the lentils either using an immersion blender or just the cooking spoon to make the texture more thick, but you can also skip this step.
Serve hot in a bowl with a big chunk o’ bread. Avocado is also great in this soup if you have it.