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Healthy Meal Options: Lentil Soup in a Slow Cooker

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

Slow-cooked lentil soup.  Mmmm.

Slow-cooked lentil soup. Mmmm.

It's a cold winter's day. The chair by the fire is calling your name and you're anxious to get back to that book. Yet, dinner is on your mind. It's hours away, but the preparations need to start now to be ready in time.

The solution? Lentil soup in the slow cooker. It's like having your cake and eating it, too. After preparing all the ingredients, you'll have time to curl up by the fire and warm those toes. You'll find out what happens on page 247 in your paperback novel because you'll have the afternoon to read instead of toiling over the stove. It's almost like...someone else cooked dinner.

More About Lentils

  • This legume has been around for a long time. The Old Testament talks about Esau and Jacob exchanging a bowl of lentil soup.
  • It has been in the Middle East for over 8000 years.
  • It is high in folate, iron and protein.
  • Unlike beans, lentils don't have to be soaked prior to cooking.
  • They exist in a variety of colors, but you usually see green or brown in the US because they retain their color and texture really well after cooking.

Preparing Lentils

Dry lentils come in packaged bags. Before washing, separate out any warped or damaged lentils, small stones or other debris. Use a strainer and rinse them well with water.

Get those onions and carrots ready.  They're the first to go in the soup.

Get those onions and carrots ready. They're the first to go in the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger root, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bag of dry lentils (16 oz.)
  • 1 package of hot dogs, sliced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • more salt and cracked peppercorns to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
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Variations:

Isn't it maddening when you go to make something, and you find that you don't have all the ingredients?

  • Instead of garlic, you can use garlic salt, and add less regular salt
  • "Veggie dogs" work just as well as regular hot dogs
  • Instead of sage, you can try adding a little parsley
  • You can always add other vegetables: celery, squash, and water chestnuts are particularly good

Instructions

  1. Load all ingredients except parmesan cheese into slow cooker.
  2. Set to high and cook for 4 hours.
  3. Spoon into bowls with a ladle and garnish with the Parmesan cheese.
  4. Serve with some homemade bread if you wish.
Load all the ingredients into the slow cooker.

Load all the ingredients into the slow cooker.

Save Time

Save the scraps from your vegetables and put in a freezer bag. Store them in the freezer. When the freezer bag gets full, use those vegetables to make easy vegetable broth.

Get Rid of Garlic Smell

After cutting garlic, onions and gingerroot, your hands often carry the smell of those vegetables. Solve that by running your hands over real silver. For some reason, it all but reduces the leftover smell on your hands!

Why Use a Crock Pot

You already know that using a slow cooker saves time, but there are so many other reasons to use one!

  • You can save a lot of energy. It's a green proposition!
  • It makes the house smell incredible. There's nothing like coming home from work to the home-cooked aroma of lentils or beans in the air.
  • Slow-cooked foods have a lot of flavor.
  • They are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
  • They're ideal for the culinary-challenged types among us. The slow-cooking actions release and infuse spices into the food and allow the food to percolate and absorb them.
  • Clean-up is a snap. You use hardly any dishes during preparation and even when you serve the food, you're not having to use a lot of extra dishes - a soup bowl and a bread plate are all you need.
  • You don't have to slave over a stove: no stirring, mixing, or watching. You can fix your meal, and pretty much forget about it until serving time. (Sometimes I can't resist a good stir every now and then, but if I'm not home, it doesn't matter.)

© 2011 Cynthia Calhoun

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