The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch: Spicy Lentil Soup

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am a sandwich-hater (hi, Catherine.)  

I have a new lunch recipe this week for anyone craving an alternative to the sandwich.  It’s very easy, but does require a bit of time, so I’d recommend preparing it on Sunday evening (or whenever you have a spare hour.)

Spicy Lentil Soup

1+ c dry lentils

2-3 carrots

2 celery stalks

8 oz cherry tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

Spinach leaves (large handful)

5 c low-sodium chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp thyme

salt & pepper (to taste)

Red wine vinegar (a splash)

1 tbsp olive oil

1.  Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, slice carrots, celery, tomatoes, and garlic.

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I really love these multi-colored tomatoes from Trader Joe’s… Go antioxidants!

2. Add carrots, celery, and tomatoes to saucepan.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add garlic.  Cook for another 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often.

3.  Add lentils and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer.  Add bay leaf, spices, salt & pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until carrots and lentils are mostly soft.)

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4. Add spinach and red wine vinegar, and let simmer for a few more minutes (the spinach will wilt quickly.)

5. Taste test; add any spices, salt, pepper, etc. that you desire.

6.. Ladle into your favorite mug or bowl, and enjoy!

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Nutrient-packed, delicious, and very filling.

If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth.  If you are one who believes that a meal must contain meat to be considered a meal (Andrew falls squarely in that category,) a great addition to this soup would be a ham steak, cubed, and added to the pot at the same time as the lentils.

This batch will definitely not last the entire week.  Next time I will double the recipe to safeguard against hungry husbands (Well, just one hungry husband, really.  I haven’t had much trouble with anyone else’s husband snacking on my lunch food ;-))

Lunch shouldn’t be boring;  stay strong, my fellow sandwich-haters!

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The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch #1

The phrase, “The best thing since sliced bread,” carries no weight in my mind;  what’s so great about sliced bread?  Perhaps it’s the result of years of bagged lunches with only minor variations of the same boring sandwich, but about a year ago I realized that I have a serious dislike for the all-American lunch.

That’s right:  I HATE sandwiches.

When I say, “sandwiches,” I’m referring specifically to the make-at-home variety.  The whole grain bread.  The meat. The cheese.  The veggies.  The condiments.  The peanut butter and jelly.  Regardless of the combination–and I’ve even walked on the wild side and tried non-whole grain breads like freshly baked sourdoughs, and tried non-lunch meat meats like well seasoned chicken breasts–the result is the same: disgust.

When I say, “hate,” I mean… well, let me walk you through my experience step-by-step:

     Bite 1: Not good, but hey, it’s just a sandwich.

     Bites 2-3: I really don’t like this.  Maybe if I move it in my mouth so it doesn’t touch my taste buds and wash it down like a pill with a big gulp of water…

Bite 4: Throat closing.  Will. Not. Swallow.  Spit it out.

Sandwich in trash can.

(Side note:  if you have served me a sandwich at some point in the last year and right now are thinking, “Geez, I had no idea,” I apologize… I certainly would not expect anyone to cater to this kind of crazy.  ;-))

What it all adds up to is this:  lunch for me requires some creativity.  Here’s what’s in my lunch bag in lieu of a sandwich this week:

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Brown Rice (Cooked in the rice-cooker with low sodium chicken broth)

Green Beans (Sauteed in a skillet with a little olive oil & garlic salt)

Chick Peas (Straight from the can)

I make a big batch on Sunday or Monday, and I am set for the week!  Delicious.

For all my fellow sandwich-haters out there, stay tuned for more ideas, as I plan to make this an ongoing series.

It’ll be the best thing since, uh, cooked rice 😉