Vegetable Lentil Soup with Homemade Garlic Croutons
I grew up eating lentil soup and forever it will be a comfort food to me. After talking with my Mom, we shared our recipes to find many similarities between our two renditions- the biggest difference was the one I grew up with used potatoes, this recipe uses tomatoes. Both are super tasty. If you are looking for a thicker consistency, use potatoes- if you want more of a broth, go with tomatoes.
Our Sunday was relaxing and homebound so I found myself in our kitchen. I love smelling soup cook throughout the afternoon, but as it does my appetite grows with the hour as well!
Heat a large soup pot over high heat and swirl in olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 celery stalks also peeled and chopped with 1 tbsp of chopped garlic. If you are looking for a quick way to avoid chopping veggies, Trader Joe's mirepoix blend is awesome. It has the onion, celery and carrots in one container to just add all together. Reduce your heat to low and saute until the vegetables lightly caramelize. Add 1 small chopped tomato.
Stir well incorporating the vegetables.
While the vegetables continue to cook, I prepared my baguette for my croutons.
At this time, add 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste and let it cook for a few more minutes.
As the vegetables thicken with the tomato paste I sliced my baguette into small cubes and placed them in a bowl for later.
Scoop 2 cups of lentils.
Add the lentils, 1 tsp dried thyme, a bay leaf (be sure to remove before serving), 1/2 tsp pepper and a dash of salt.
Once mixed together, pour in 6 c of chicken broth and 4 c water. Bring the soup to a boil. Once the lentils become tender stir in 2 tsp red wine vinegar.
Lower the heat a bit to allow the soup to thicken. Time to make our croutons. In a large skillet over high heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cloves of crush garlic and let it cook until it sizzles.
Add cubed bread and stir occasionally until golden brown.
Serve your soup with a few croutons on top to create great texture and a delicious addition to your soup!