Lentils are a type of bean that have been cultivated for a few thousand years, and are an inexpensive, vegetarian and vegan friendly option for protein rich meals. These little beans also are high in fiber, which helps keep you full as well.
*A few hours (or even a day before,) preparing the soup, rinse the lentils, spread them flat on a surface and sort out rocks, and other non-lentil materials. Optional: let them dry.
Transfer lentils to three-quart Dutch oven with three to four cups water. Bring to boil over high heat; immediately after boiling, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. After simmering, remove one cup of liquid if you used three cups of water, two cups if you used four cups of water; dispose of removed liquid.
Add the 32 ounces of beef or vegetable broth, two cloves minced garlic, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the lentils. Stir well and increase burner temperature to medium heat. Add 1 1/2 table spoons of dried oregano. Stir well. Add half of a teaspoon onion powder, half a teaspoon of garlic powder, half of a 12 ounce package of mixed soup vegetables, half a can of diced tomato and half a can of tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste is broken up. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
After simmering for 20 minutes bring soup to a boil and add a half a cup of small sized pasta, reduce to low boil for 10 minutes.
1/4 package of lentils, rinsed, sorted*
3-4 cups water
1 32 oz. box beef broth (or vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian/vegan friendly)
2 small cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of mixed soup vegetables from the freezer isle
1/2 can tomato paste
1/2 can diced tomato
1/2 dry cup small sized pasta
Grated cheese (optional)