Lentils are one of the pantry's fastest whole foods - especially red lentils, which cook up from raw to golden in mere moments. If your Food Desert doesn't carry lentils, you can substitute split peas in this soup - but ask your store manager to carry them - they are shelf-stable, healthy, and on the WIC list in most states.
This soup has a long history and a checkered past; it's named for the Esau of the Bible, who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup. Lentils are also one of the foods considered to be lucky for the new year, as peas and lentils symbolize coins and wealth. Besides, nothing sticks to your ribs quite like a bowl of this hot, hearty soup.
There are so many versions that I picked the combination of ingredients I liked the best! You can make this soup simply with water, lentils, garlic and salt if your pantry is bare, but I love the depth the vegetables bring to the table.
2 cups of water
1 cup of red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 of a 15oz can of carrots, diced
3 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of dried onion
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
Simply add all the ingredients to a pot, bring it to a boil, and simmer until your lentils are tender, about 10 minutes. If you find your soup is too thick, add some more water, and taste for seasoning. Remove the bay leaf before serving
If you'd like a creamier soup, put about half of it in the blender, blend until creamy and then mix it back in with the rest. Enjoy!