Lentil Soup: A Perfect Frugal Meal

Lentil soup is one of my favorite comfort foods, especially on chilly winter nights. Packed with protein, fiber, and veggies, it’s a complete meal that’s easy to make, and healthy for your body and your budget. The recipe below serves eight for under ten dollars. It can be made for vegetarians (swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth), or for carnivores (add diced ham). It also includes my special secret ingredient.

Kim’s Secret Ingredient Lentil Soup
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
8 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
16 (or 14) oz. bag of dry lentils
1 chopped tomato (or 1/2 cup of tomato sauce)
1 1/2 cup cooked chopped spinach (or one package of frozen spinach)
2 cups of carrots (cut in thick rounds)
1/2 tsp salt
secret ingredient: 1 tbsp garam masala

Chop one large onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Heat oil or butter in an 8 quart stock pot. Saute onions and garlic until onions are soft and semi-translucent. Add 8 cups of chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth if you are vegetarian). Rinse lentils under cold water, drain, and add them to the pot. Add carrots and tomato and bring to a boil. Add salt, and the secret ingredient, one tablespoon of garam masala. If you can’t find garam masala in your grocery store, substitute a teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of coriander, and a pinch of pepper.

Cover and simmer for 50 minutes. Add spinach and cook another 10 minutes. Serve topped with shredded cheese and an assortment of crackers for dipping.

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