Winter, even here in South Florida, is a perfect time for hearty home-made soups. Every time I make a pot, I am reminded of simple it is, and how far it goes. This weekend, it was a big pot of lentil, barley and mushroom soup that was cooking in the kitchen. After sautéing 5 stalks of chopped celery, 2 chopped onions and a few cloves of garlic for about 5 minutes, I added 1/2 cup of barely and a full cup of lentils and let them toast just a little. I added a mix of vegetable broth and water (I used 3 cups broth and about 6 cups of water) and after it came to a boil I let it simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Then I added a couple of pounds of different sliced mushrooms (I used button and baby bellas this time, but you can really use any or all!) and seasoned with dried thyme, parsley, ground pepper and 2 bay leaves (make sure to remove the leaves before serving the soup). I let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so and it was a meal in and of itself! Packed with protein and fiber, void of cholesterol and vegan, it was a soup Mitch and I could both dig our spoons into. It is such a hearty soup, that although it has more calories than some others, it is so filling it makes it hard to eat too much else, though I did make a super colorful salad to go with it. If you are in a cold weather climate, it is definitely a comfort soup! Best part of all is there is plenty of leftover soup and salad for meatless Monday. More water may needed to be added to the leftovers, before reheating as the grains absorb a lot of the fluids, making it more of a stew (which can be eaten just that way) then a soup after the first day.
Time to turn passive into active. I am on it. Hope you are, too. Happy Monday.