With less than a month to go before Lent starts for some and the push to continue to eat healthier in the new year for others, it’s the time of year to look for meatless recipes.
Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like those meatless meals are less satisfying than heartier meals, so I often find myself hunting for vegetarian recipes that are high in protein. The last thing I want is for a healthy dinner to drive me into the kitchen for a snack later because it just doesn’t stick with me.
When I stumbled on a recipe for some lentil soup I could make in my pressure cooker, I decided to do some research on lentils, not being particularly familiar with the ingredient, but I was pleasantly surprised at how healthy lentils really are.
Registered Dietician Katherine Zeratsky with the Mayo Clinic explains that “Lentils are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, which makes them a healthy substitute for meat. They’re also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.”
And I thought they were pretty tasty, too, after we gave this soup recipe a try. The recipe I used is from the website “Delish” and was posted by Makinze Gore. You can find it at https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a25240121/instant-pot-lentil-soup/. I increased the amounts on several ingredients.
Pressure Cooker Lentil Soup
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- 3 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- shredded or grated parmesan for serving
- Add all the ingredients, except the spinach and parmesan, to the crock of a pressure cooker and stir.
- Set the pressure cooker to high pressure for 18 minutes and then quick release the pressure when it’s done cooking.
- Stir in the spinach, and once it’s wilted, serve the soup garnished with parmesan.
There was enough leftover soup for us to put some in the freezer, and it was great later on, too.
I also opted for the vegetable broth to make this truly vegetarian, and I didn’t even notice there wasn’t any meat in the soup. It was hearty and filling and packed a lot of flavor.
If you really can’t bring yourself do meatless, I’d suggest tossing some cooked ham or bacon into the mix, but honestly, you won’t need it.
If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, don’t let them intimidate you. They look a little different, but they’re really just beans, but they have a bit of a nutty flavor, too.
I’m looking forward to seeing how else I can use them in my kitchen and glad I have a new vegetarian recipe to add to our dinner rotation.
This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 21, 2019.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.