Hey everyone! I have a comforting, but still easy and healthy soup recipe to share with you all today. I love soup in the colder winter months. My body craves warmer food naturally, but I also look at it as a great way to really load up on vegetables. Everyone thinks of salad as the best “health” food, but soup can essentially be made up of a lot of the same components–it’s just a little bit wetter and warmer!
Besides being a great way to get lots of healthy nutrients in your body, soup is also “healthy” on your budget and great if you have limited time to devote to cooking. Many people think it’s expensive to eat well, but you really do not have to spend a lot of money on fancy ingredients unless you really want to. Buying in season and picking produce that is available locally is a great way to save money on your grocery bill. Simple veggies like onions, celery, carrots and cabbage are loaded with nutrients but are usually quite inexpensive and readily available (at least in my part of the world).
I also realize some people just do not have the time to spend in the kitchen every day. I do not feel that stressing about making food is a very healthy way to live. As much as I love to cook, I just do not have the time to get in the kitchen every day. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy meal prepping so much. It gives me a few hours to do what I love at the beginning of the week, but then it also allows me to check one thing off the list to not have to stress over once the week starts getting busy. The slow cooker is a fantastic tool to make that weekly meal prep even easier. For a soup like this, you can spend about 15 minutes chopping and tossing everything in the pot, then you can literally forget about it for a few hours and do other things!
Though it is just my boyfriend and I in our household, I still like to make big batches of things so we have it all week. If you live alone or do not like to eat the same thing every day, feel free to cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller batch. This will also freeze well if you really want to do some future meal prep!
Slow Cooker Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Makes 8 servings
- 1 onion, peeled & chopped
- 1 large carrot, trimmed & thinly sliced
- 2 large stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils, picked through & rinsed
- 1 small head red cabbage, cored & roughly chopped
- 1 (28-ounce) can organic diced tomatoes with basil or 3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 lemon, zest & juice
- optional–fresh parsley and nutritional yeast for serving
Place all of your ingredients up to the lemon in a 5 to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir, then cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until lentils are done and vegetables are softened to your liking. Remove bay leaf and mix in the lemon juice and zest.
Serve with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast if desired.