1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1.In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
2.Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.
**Randi's Side Notes**
~ If you were going to use this in the Diet Approved Program you would need to leave the tomatoes out. You could add all sorts of other vegetables, beans, quinoa, you name it, throw it in. To make it more flavorful use chicken broth instead of the water, since you won't have the flavorings from the canned tomatoes. Adding the vinegar, especially balsamic, at the end will help build more of a hearty flavor in it as well.
~ So my adaptations to this recipe were: doubled the vegetables, added half chicken stock and half water, and added around 2 TBSP of Tomato Powder.
~ I did part of the soup with the added vinegar at the end (I used Balsamic vinegar) and half of the soup without it. Honestly it doesn't need the vinegar but it was just as good with it. Using the Balsamic vinegar almost brings in a meaty taste to the soup.
~ I used two cans of Italian stewed tomatoes in mine. It helped to add a little extra seasoning.
~ I think for future times when I make this I would add some of the following variations:
~ Half the lentils and add a can of my favorite beans
~ I think that some sliced up Italian sausage would be awesome