Tuscan Lentil Soup

This soup gives an Italian twist to a classic hearty soup. Rich in protein and fiber, lentils make this dish deeply satisfying. Also a great way to put to use some of your fresh garden herbs like rosemary and oregano. Serve with a chunk of whole grain bread or starter salad. 

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini squash, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp packed rosemary leaves
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, OR 2 tsp. dry
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 can, 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (no salt-added)
  • 6 cups low-sodium veggie broth
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 5 cups baby kale leaves
  • 1 can chic peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 large sweet potato, pre-cooked in microwave for 4-6 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese, optional
  • Fresh parsley, optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in large soup pot. Saute onion, garlic and celery until onion turns translucent (3-5 minutes). Add peppers, squash, herbs and spices. Stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes & broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are soft (30-40 minutes).  Remove from heat. Stir in kale, chic peas , vinegar, and scooped out inside of sweet potato. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to standing blender) and pulse ~50% of soup to thicken. Season with pepper and top with parmesan and parsley before serving.