Ever since I started to have a box of fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to my house every Tuesday, there has been no shortage of produce in my house. And while I have been better about eating fruits and vegetables, it is time to make a daily commitment. Therefore, for my third week of the 52 to Fabulous challenge, I am going to eat the daily recommended allotment of fruits and vegetables by the FDA.
Now, I will have no problem with availability of fruits and vegetables because I currently have a produce stand in my living room and a new box will be arriving on Tuesday. I made a vegetable and lentil soup today that is chock full of vegetables.
Have I told you about the lentil soup? Oh goodness, it is so good. It started with a recipe from Wolfgang Puck that I found in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago. I have tweaked it a little bit, but the true beauty of the soup is that it can be tailored to whatever you have in your pantry and fridge.
The base of the soup is the most important part. You start with 3 leeks. You chop up the white and light green parts of three leeks and cook them for 5 minutes in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. There is something about the leeks that imparts the oniony flavor, but with a more subtle taste.
After the leeks are softened and smell yummy, add 6 chopped garlic cloves and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you can smell the garlic. Then, you add 2 chopped carrots, 3 chopped celery, 3 cups shredded cabbage (I love using red cabbage), 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 cup of brown rice, and 1/2 cup of lentils. You could add pepper, but I don't like pepper so I never add it. Finally, add 8 cups of chicken broth (2 of those cartons).
Now, turn the heat up until the soup simmers and then put a lid on it, turn it down to low and cook for about an hour. To serve, remember to take the bay leaf out, ladle into bowls, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. I froze a couple of servings, but I still have a few out and at the ready to satisfy my vegetable servings. However, believe me, that no vegetable requirement would cause me to eat vegetable soup if it wasn't the best darn vegetable soup in the world. Just to trick myself, I call it Lentil Soup. Try it - you'll love it.
If I need any encouragement to eat fruit, I also spoon a little Nutella and eat it with the fruit. Oh my goodness, it is so yummy! Did you know that February 5 is World Nutella Day? I say we all start practicing now. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Saut Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.