Around this time last year, most of Europe went into a deep freeze. I was living in Rome, Italy at the time and the whole city freaked out about the sudden drop in temperature. While cities across the continent were covered in thick layers of ice (even Mallorca saw snow!), Rome was busy throwing a fit over its two inches of snow.
Schools and government offices were shut down and the mayor declared the city in a state of emergency. The buses were unable to navigate the slippery cobblestones, so Mayor Alemanno tried to alleviate the road problem with salt. Table salt.
Needless to say, the salt didn’t do a very good job and most of the city was unnavigable by car or bus for a few days. That same week, my friend Grace came to visit me from Geneva. Sure, the weather was cold in Rome, but it was nothing like the city she left behind.
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Yes, that is an actual picture taken this time last year in Geneva. If you follow the source link, you can see some pretty amazing photos of different cities turned frozen tundras across the continent.
Still, it was cold by my standards, so I decided to make her my staple winter meal in Rome: lentil soup. Lentils are dirt cheap here in America, but they’re practically free in Italy. I used to make this soup in huge batches, where it would take up my whole mini-fridge in my studio apartment, but last me all week.
Lentil SoupMakes 4 generous servings
- 8 oz. dried lentils
- 32 oz. vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 tblsp. olive oil
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
- water (use 1 empty tomato can)
- 1 tsp. pepper (Feel free to play around with spices, as well! What I love about soup is you can add whatever you want to the pot)
- 1 bay leaf
- Add garlic and chopped onion to olive oil and sautee in large pot until onions are transluscent.
- Add broth and turn heat up until broth begins to boil lightly.
- Add onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and tomato sauce and return to simmer.
- Stir in pepper and bay leaf.
- Cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally (Note: If the soup beginning to look like it’s losing too much liquid and begins to stick to the bottom, add the can of water. I prefer my soups to be thicker and more stew-like, so add more water as needed).
- Once the potatoes and lentils are tender, turn off heat.
Now comes my favorite part: the immersion blender. If you don’t have one, you could blend this in a blender or with a hand mixer or even just leave it, as is. However, I think it’s the blending of all the different vegetables and lentils that gives this soup a creamy, rich texture.
Immersion blenders are just such a handy tool to have in general. They’re great for smoothies, soups, frostings, this list goes on. They run anywhere from $20 to $50, but pay for themselves in the long run.
Anyway, take your immersion blender (or other mixing device) and blend away! I don’t like to blend it too much, because I like having bites of potato and carrots in my bowl, but it’s all a matter of preference.This soup is pretty hearty and when I say four generous servings, I mean really generous. Just for grins and giggles, I put all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal to get the nutrition facts and boy, are they easy on the eye. Each serving contains:
- 257 calories
- .4 g fat
- 18.4 g fiber
- 14.5 g protein
- 200% of daily Vitamin A
- 112% of daily Vitamin C
- 34% of daily Iron
I used low sodium vegetable broth from Trader Joe’s and didn’t salt the soup. My intention was to add salt in my own bowl, but didn’t need to after giving it a taste – it was plenty flavorful enough!
This soup is perfect for the winter and keeps in the fridge just wonderfully. I would argue that it tastes even better the next day and the day after that! Make a big batch and keep it for those days when you want a dinner that will warm your stomach and your soul.