Lentil and Vegetable Soup

I’m loving the cooler weather and it has gotten me in the mood for soup.  Well, honestly, I’m always in the mood for soup, but I’d rather eat it when it’s not in the triple digits and oppressively humid outside. This is a nutritious soup with just a little kick.  It’s quick and easy enough for a weekday.  Serve with crusty bread and a simple salad for a complete meal. If you don’t like your food spicy, leave out the jalapeno and cayenne. You can use red lentils instead of regular ol’ brown lentils in this recipe, but watch them, they cook up a bit faster.

Lentil and Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno or serrano, seeds removed and minced (optional)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 – 8 cups vegetable broth (depending on how brothy you like your soup)
1 cup lentils, picked through (rocks and broken lentils removed), and rinsed
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 medium zucchinis, diced

Saute onion, celery, carrots, jalapeno, and garlic in the olive oil in a pot until veggies are tender.  Add potatoes and spices and saute 1 minute more.  Add broth and bring to a slow boil.  Add the lentils and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and spinach and continue to simmer until lentils are completely cooked, 5 to 10 minutes.

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Roasted Okra

I bought way too much okra at the South Carolina State Farmers Market last week.  I’ve pickled it. I’ve made soup with it. I’ve fried it. I’ve stewed it. I’ve made pilau with it. Today, I roasted it.  Roasting is simple and creates an intensely flavored result.  If you like okra, you will like it prepared this way.  Roasting the okra makes it a little less slimy than steaming or stewing it.  Next time, I will roast some grape tomatoes along with the okra.

Roasted Okra

fresh okra, ends trimmed

olive oil

Kosher salt

pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place whole okra pods in a large bowl.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss well.

Spread okra in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir okra and return to the oven.  Roast 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.