This is a surprisingly filling, vegetarian, crock pot soup. It is very good, and easy to prepare the night before, or chop the veggies in advance and turn it on before you leave for work in the morning. Goes great with a crusty bread.
- 1 cup lentils
- 1⁄3 cup pearl barley
- 1 cup carrot (chopped)
- 1 cup celery (chopped)
- 1 cup onion (chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 1⁄2 cups broth
- 2 1⁄2 cups water
- 14 1⁄4 ounces Italian-style tomatoes or 14 1⁄4 ounces regular stewed tomatoes or 14 1⁄4 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (optional)
- Sort through lentils to remove debris and shriveled beans, then rinse.
- Add lentils to crock pot, along with barley, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, dried herbs and bay leaf.
- Pour in broth, water, and tomatoes.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 12 to 14 hours, or on high heat for 5 to 6 hours.
- Discard bay leaf and just before serving stir in parsley and vinegar. (If you don't use the vinegar, the soup might taste more bland as you're omitting a major contributor of flavor.).
- Lentils aren't like dried beans. They don't require soaking and cook pretty quickly when you do it right.
- When you buy your lentils, go somewhere that has a decent turnover so your lentils haven't been sitting on the shelf for years. Also, don't add any additional salt to the soup while it is cooking, and don't add lentils to already boiling water as either one can make lentils tough.
Nice soup. I won't rate because I made some changes (more tomatoes, less broth, added some frozen spinach near the end) but I wanted to recommend hulled (i.e. hull-less) barley, if you can find it. The crockpot is fantastic for whole grains, and instead of just going squishy, like pearled barley, the hulled barley makes a nice little firm pop when you bite into it. Hulled barley has more vitamins and minerals than pearled because it still has the bran and germ.
I'm not usually a big fan of lentil soups, but this one was fantastic! I've never heard of adding cider vinegar to a soup, but I think this is a trick I'll be using on a lot of vegetable soups in the future. I did change the procedure a bit-- I cooked the lentils and barley (I also use hulled barley) with just the water and bay leaf until the lentils were just tender. Like many others, I doubled the herbs and garlic. I also added 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (to "suggest" the flavor of Italian sausage), 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. The herbs and spices were cooked with the vegetables in a little olive oil before going in the crock pot with the other ingredients. So easy and very healthy-- this is something I'll be making frequently!
Wonderful! I doubled the dried herbs and used 5 cloves of garlic to give it a bit more zing. Finishing with a teaspoon of sea salt and the apple cider vinegar really make this easy soup taste great.