The first time I make lentil soup in the fall is usually for Halloween, when the kids are just itching to be off trick-or-treating and I want them to have something solid in their stomachs before they start eating all that candy. Lentil soup can simmer on the stove, so if anything upsets the dinner schedule, or somebody arrives late, I can still give them a good bowl of soup.
How to make lentil soup:
(This takes about an hour.)
Chop an onion, two stalks of celery, two carrots, and two cloves of garlic. Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, and saute the vegetables in the olive oil until they begin to get brown - about fifteen minutes. Add four cups of leftover miso soup or chicken soup, or water if you don't have any frozen soup, with 1 teaspoon of cumin. Add 1 1/4 cups of lentils and two tomatoes cut into quarters (or two frozen tomatoes, or some frozen tomato sauce). Simmer until the lentils and carrots are soft, about 35 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add more water.
When the lentils are soft, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to bring out the flavor and brighten it up. Serve hot, with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of the soup in each bowl, and sliced bread and sliced apples.
Vegetarian or vegan?
Lentil soup is vegan unless you use chicken broth or put in the Greek yogurt when you serve it. To make it meatier, saute a few slices of chopped bacon with the onions.
Can I keep this for later?
Yes, lentil soup will be good reheated the next day or two, but you may need to add more water if it gets too thick. It won't freeze well.