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lentil soup

budget friendly lentil soupThe other day it was chilly outside (read: freezing!) and Mr. S wanted to know what was for dinner.  After spending 20 years together, there are some things we do in unison without ever thinking about it.  We both said at the same time we wanted soup for dinner.  A bag of lentils in the pantry along with Italian plum tomatoes and a need to use the Parmesan rind all screamed soup.   Lentil soup is an easy meal to make and their meaty texture will leave one feeling quite satiated.

If you’re like me, I never knew what to do with the remnants of Parmesan cheese rinds other than tossing into the garbage (I can hear nonna’s all over shuddering at the thought).  It was while we were living in New York, surrounded by Italians or so it seemed, that I learned about freezing the rinds for future use in soups (minestrone), simmered in tomato sauces, or in a broth.  Think of any slow-cooked dish where a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese would be welcomed and toss in the Parmesan rind.

lentil soup
Serves: 4

  • 1¼ cups green lentils, rinsed
  • good splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, chopped (keep juice)
  • Parmesan rind
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • lime wedge
  • handful Italian parsley, chopped

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots. When onions are soft, add garlic and cumin. Stir and cook until garlic becomes aromatic then add tomatoes with its juice and lentils. Stir to combine. Add Parmesan rind and water. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil; cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Cook 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove Parmesan rind. Add spinach and allow to wilt. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze lime wedge over soup and stir. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.


parmesan rindThe Culinary Chase’s Note: The Parmesan rind adds a bit of depth to the soup and infuses some of the Parmesan flavor. Make sure to stir the rind during the cooking process or it’ll end up sticking to the bottom of the pot. Enjoy!

About Heather Chase

The Culinary Chase was coined by my husband whilst in a coffee shop in Hong Kong back in 2006. We wanted something that would be a play on my last name and by the time we finished our coffee, the name was born. As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed cooking. It wasn’t until we moved to Asia that I began to experiment using herbs and spices in my everyday cooking. Not only do they enhance the flavor of food but also heighten it nutritionally. Over the years, I began to change our diet to include more vegetables, pulses, whole grains and less red meat. Don’t get me wrong, we love our meat, just not in super-size portions (too hard for the body to digest). I always use the palm of my hand as a guide to portion control when eating red meat. If the meat is larger than my hand, I save that portion for another day. Also, if the veggies on your plate look colorful (think the colors of the rainbow) – red, green, yellow, orange etc. then you’re most likely getting the right amount of nutrients per meal. I post recipes that I think help maintain a healthy body. I use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I make a conscious effort to eat healthy and 20% for when I want french fries with gravy (poutine). Balance is the key and to enjoy life with whatever comes my way. Thanks for visiting!


The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.


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