To say I love Tuscany (really, Italy in general) is one of those ridiculous, no-duh statements, like "The sky is blue," or "Coffee is life." So when I found this Tuscany-in-a-bowl recipe, I was all over it. Bonus points because it met all our nutritional requirements.
Even more bonus points because it tastes really, really good. Once you get all the chopping done, it's an easy, hands-off meal. It made a lot, so we ate on it for several days. And the tomatoes and herbs gave delicious throwbacks to summer, and to Italy. We were big fans and will definitely keep this in rotation.
E & B
Tuscan lentil soupA hearty, veggie-heavy meal with tons of flavor. Serves 8
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced (we left these out)
4 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 cups vegetable broth
26 oz. diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups French green lentils
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 cups Tuscan kale (we used baby spinach)
fresh basil, for garnish
In a large stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes, and sauté until starting to soften. Add garlic and sauté another minute or so.
Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, thyme, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Stir in lentils and tomato paste.
Partially cover pot and simmer for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Add more broth if needed, but it’s really better if it’s thick, like a stew. Stir in kale (or spinach), and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
When you’re ready to serve, stir in fresh basil and top with grated fresh parmesan.
Pretend you’re in Florence, and enjoy.