CSA Love and Easy Garlicky Lentil Soup

heart with vegetables inside

Aw yeah, I love love love all this fresh produce!  Sunday night we had an improptu pizza dinner at home, so I whipped up a quick tossed salad with what I had on hand - some of the delicious lettuce I got in my share on Saturday.  I added some diced super sweet red peppers that were also included . . . and it was delicious.  Even D. (a.k.a. "King Carnivore") was raving about the tasty veggies.

So some of you have been wondering "what the heck is a CSA?"  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and here's how it works.  The CSA I bought into is called the Shared Harvest CSA (formerly the Belmont CSA), which offers items from a few different farms in each share.  So far, so great!  I have one more distribution, next month, but I'm completely sold on them and will re-up for the spring/summer months if they go forward with that.  I don't have the space or growing conditions (too shady) to have a vegetable garden in the backyard, so this is the next best thing.  Sure, I lack some control over what I get, but you know what?  It's an adventure, and I know I'll be trying things I never have before (rutabaga, anyone?).  Bring it on!

One of my goals for this fall and winter is to make more soup - it just hasn't been something I've cooked often.  Dunno why.  Last night I made this Garlicky Lentil Soup using some of the garlic and onions I received in my share.  It's pretty quick to prepare - about 10 minutes to chop up the onions and garlic and throw it all in the pot, then approximately 25-30 minutes to cook.  So you could come home from work, throw it together, then get lunches packed, answer emails, throw in laundry, etc. while it simmers. If you want to make it vegan, use vegetable broth instead of chicken.  In either case, your house will smell yummy from all the garlic and thyme. 

I served this up with a fresh green salad (I had more of my lettuce and peppers).  It'd be super-delish with some crusty bread or toasty open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches on the side . . . .

Garlicky Lentil Soup

8 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. dried thyme leaves
2/3 c. Pardina lentils (these are Spanish lentils, and if you can't find them, brown lentils are a good substitute - you want a lentil that'll hold its shape)
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
4 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste

 

In a medium-sized saucepan, saute the onions and garlic in the 1 T. of olive oil until the onions are translucent.  Add the lentils and the thyme, then pour in the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup drizzled with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar - the oil adds richness and the vinegar adds brightness.  This recipe serves 2, but could easily be doubled.  I ate one portion of this, and I imagine the leftovers will be spectacular today because the flavors will've had a chance to meld.