Every time my parents come to visit, I tend to make the same dishes. My mother usually requests a stir-fry, and my daughter, seeing this special occasion as a opportunity to have her favorite dish, asks for lasagna. Sometimes I cook up a Southern meal of lima beans and greens or a vegetable soup, but the overall theme is simple, basic dishes that are suitable for vegans and omnivores alike.
A couple of weeks ago, my parents were here for a few days and I wanted to cook them something new but with flavors that would be familiar to them. And I wanted it to be fast and easy. So I settled on this lentil soup, which is familiar because it uses the same flavors my mother used in her beef stew. And it’s easy because all of the ingredients go into my electric pressure cooker at the same time and cook/rest for a total of 25 minutes. I added a big salad and my basic cornbread for a hearty meal that all of us enjoyed.
This vegan lentil soup is almost, but not quite, a stew. I used big chunks of carrots and potatoes, and by using a little less liquid, you could make it into a stew, though I like it soupy so that I can dip my bread into it. I served it in these gorgeous blue and yellow bowls given to me by my brother Bill and sister-in-law Kate. They were made by Kate’s father, Rick Pride, and as soon as his website is up, I’ll link to it so that you can get some of his beautiful pottery for yourself.
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Homestyle Lentil Soup
- 2 cups brown or green lentils uncooked
- 8 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 pounds large gold or red potatoes cut into large cubes
- 8 ounces mushrooms halved or quartered
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 large carrots thickly sliced
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes or 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon optional (use only if water is used instead of broth)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce coconut aminos, or tamari
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary crushed
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pick over the lentils and rinse well. Put them into the pressure cooker along with the water or broth.
- Start the water or broth heating in the pressure cooker while you chop the vegetables. Add all ingredients to the cooker and stir. Seal the cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes for electric pressure cooker or 8 minutes stovetop. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes before using a quick-release method to release the pressure. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can simply simmer this covered on the stove until the lentils are tender, about an hour; add water as necessary.)
- Check to make sure the lentils and potatoes are tender; if not, cook, covered but not at pressure, until done, adding water if it seems too thick. Remove the bay leaves, and check the seasonings, adding more poultry seasoning and salt, if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if you like.
Nutritional Information includes two teaspoons Better Than Bouillon, which contributes 170mg sodium per serving.
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