Is your pantry as neurotically stocked as mine is? I’ll bet some (most?) of you always have some type of canned tomato, canned or dried bean (which may or may not be stored with the popcorn), 3 or 4 different types of vinegar (I compulsively keep 7), and too much dried pasta to feel like you’ll ever use. However, when it really comes down to it, you know that pulling together a meal directly from the pantry isn’t ridiculously out of the question.
For us, these past few weeks have been about our household economy. We’ve been scrimping and saving during the past 4 years and especially in the past few months to put the finishing touches on our new house…so we can install things like this in our kitchen:
And so to keep our grocery bills way down, most of our meals have been planned around what’s in the freezer and pantry. This lentil and black bean soup is the perfect example of one of said meals. While you could certainly use chicken broth or stock, I opted for veggie broth. At $2 per quart, I figured I’d splurge at little , considering I already had all of the other ingredients in the house already. I am always looking for new lentil soup recipes and this one, with the addition of black beans, hit the nail on the head. We truly adored this soup and with its thick and almost chili-like consistency, it’s a filling and healthy meal that will continue to stick around on our menu long after we move in (and you know, rebuild our savings account).
source: adapted from Cook Like a Champion, originally from Cookin’ Canuck
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika (I used 1 tsp sweet and 1 tsp smoked)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 4 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable (or chicken broth)
- 3 cups water
- 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and bay leaves and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and their juices, lentils, half of the black beans, the chicken broth and the water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 35 minutes
- Remove from heat and discard the bay leaves. Transfer half the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until combined but not pureed – make sure you vent the top of the machine with a cloth as the hot liquid will explode inside when you begin to pulse. (Alternatively, you could use a hand or immersion blender and blend half of the soup while it’s still in the pot, which is what I did.) Add mixture back to pot, along with remaining black beans. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Bring the soup back to a simmer over medium heat for another 10-15 minutes until the lentils are fully cooked through. Stir in parsley and serve.