Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Italian Flavored Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup and Our Day

Dan loves red lentil soup in a tomato base. So …. I make it often since it makes him happy. Since he was home for lunch today and the weather was gray and rainy I decided soup would be a good choice. This is a fast soup (45 minutes cooking and 2 minutes of prep). It is also something that most people can make from things they have on hand. Also this is a very budget friendly soup. I think it is perfect for a cool rainy day. Here is what I did:

Italian Flavored Red Lentil and Brown Rice Soup
Serves 2


½ cup red lentils
½ cup brown rice
4 or 5 cups water (start with 4 cups and add more if necessary)
14 ounces of tomato sauce
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced (allow the garlic to stand for 10 minutes after you smash them so the allicin can develop since heat stops the process)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, dry
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hot pepper flakes or wet hots, if desired
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, if you want a Southern Italian flavor
Spinach, julienned, if you want added nutrition (I added about 4 cups for both nutrition and color)


I toss everything into the pot together (except the spinach) and simmer until the rice and lentils are done. This takes about 45 minutes. If you are using the spinach add it just before serving so the heat of the soup wilts the leaves. This soup would also be good topped with tofu sour cream or tofu tahini sauce/dip.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 433.21
Calories From Fat (6%) - 25.9

Total Fat - 3.11g
Saturated Fat - 0.54g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 1070.11mg
Potassium - 1197.73mg
Total Carbohydrates - 85.7g
Fiber - 11.67g
Sugar - 11.54g
Protein - 19.95g


This is a very filling soup and makes a huge serving. We had it today as our meal, no salad. If you are looking for something easy and filling this is a good choice.

Out and about:

After we gulped down the soup we need to run out the door. Before the follow up appointment with the doctor we decided to run by the health food store on the way. After the appointment we stopped at Marshalls and Costco since they were both close. We “needed” a few things from Costco, nothing much since we stopped there last week. Still I managed a cart that was almost full.

Insane right? How do two people manage to eat so much produce? I really have no idea but somehow we do it.


We didn’t get home until after 7:30pm. By the time everything was put away it was almost 8pm and we were both starving. Since I didn’t have any time to think about dinner I made a really fast veggie pasta with peanut sauce.

I didn’t measure things because we were famished but it was an extremely simple meal. While the pasta water came to a boil I chopped the onion, garlic, fresh ginger, broccoli, carrot and red bell pepper. I water sautéed those once the pasta was cooking. To the veggies I added a little reduced fat peanut butter and liquid aminos. I finished the plate with some black sesame seeds and dinner was on in 30 minutes or less. This is one of my favorite fast meals, not too exciting or exotic just really tasty.  When I have more time I prefer to have this over brown rice rather than whole wheat pasta, but tonight speed was of the essence.

Unrelated note:

Tomorrow morning is going to be a little hectic but should slow down after lunch. I will be back tomorrow as soon as I get a few minutes. I hope you all had great day. Talk to you later.


  1. I am going to make that soup asap, I need to get some red lentils and I am dangerously low on tomato sauce! I thought the peanut vegetables were to die for~~~

  2. Brandi,

    Dan loves red lentil tomato soup. I don't know what it is, but he loves the combination.

    The peanut veggie pasta is such a quick dish. It is one of my "darn we need dinner now" recipes. I always have those components on hand so it is pantry meal for me. I only used abou 4 tablespoons of peanut butter and 4 ounces of whole wheat pasta for the entire recipe so it wasn't a diet buster either. ;-)

    talk to you soon,

  3. Mmm-mm-mm! That's my response to your soup. That's exactly the kind I would lo-o-o-ve! Just a question on the Costco cart - is that a bag of chips I see in the front part of the basket???? :-)

  4. Blessed Mama,

    Good eyes! LOL. That is a huge bag of organic corn chips which will last us for months. I have two big resealable jars that we empty them into. As you can tell we have done this before. ;-) Dan wanted some nachos this weekend, and I can not say no to him. So in the cart they went.


  5. Oh, I am so glad to hear you are normal like me, you have no idea! :-)

  6. If a recipe calls for red lentils, but all you have in your pantry is a bag of lentils (no "red" before it's name), can you still use the lentils? In other words, what is the difference between regular lentils and red lentils?

    I think I need to make that soup--it sounds and looks scrumptious.

  7. Blessed Mama,

    Normal? You thought I wasn't? Sounds like we need to talk. LOL

    Of course I buy "unhealthy" stuff some times like tortillas. My hubby would rebel if he didn't get a little treat here or there. Only now I treats are less frequent and a smaller quantity. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  8. Jessie,

    The red lentils tend to fall more easily than the other lentils. So the only differnce is color and texture. Lentils will get very soft if cooked long enough. The red lentils are a coral color and are normally packaged as red lentils. If that doesn't make sense let me know. ;-)


  9. Oh, our shopping cart looks very much like that too. LOL. It really is amazing how much produce 2 people can eat isn't it! That soup looks great. Gotta love fast, easy. tasty. Hope your weather turns around.

  10. Heather,

    Thanks for letting me know we aren't alone on the cart full of produce. Each time we do that I wonder if people in line are looking at our cart thinking we must have a house full.

    Dan was happy with his soup. He is so funny, he just love red lentil and tomato soup no matter how I flavor it. However he also loved the peanut veggies and whole wheat pasta.

    talk to you later,

  11. While the soup is simmering, do you stir it at all? I know you're supposed to leave rice alone while it does its thang, so I wanted to check. I think I'll have to make this for lunches next week.

  12. Brigid,

    I do stir this every once in a while to make certain it doesn't stick. If you want the rice to be firm in texture you can always cook it separately and stir it in at the end. Sometimes I do that, but normally I make one pot soups.


  13. Hello!

    First of all, your blog is fantastic. I look forward to reading it when I check my feeds every day. :) I can't wait to make the red lentil soup, and my husband can't wait for the nacho cheeze. I also want to thank you for the posting about the E-Cornell certificate in plant-based nutrition. I am a layperson, if you will, when it comes to the subject (no medical training, English teacher here :)), but I am really interested in learning! I intend to register for the class this summer and was curious about your feedback on the program thus far. I know that with your background/life experience you are very knowledgeable about the subject, but if you wouldn't mind considering it for a relative newbie to the vegan lifestyle and scientifically-based nutrition, I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you again for all of that you offer!


  14. Kate,

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Your comment made me smile.

    The first two courses have been a sort of broad brush at plant based nutrition. Have you read "The China Study"? I would suggest that would be a great starting point. If you like that book it is the basis for the first two courses. Once I have finished the last one I will post a review.

    thanks again for you kind words,

  15. Red lentils, brown rice, and Italian flavors... no question, this recipe's going in the stack! (How will I ever live long enough to make all these dishes?) :-)

    Your cart is so NOT insane! You want to see insane shopping carts, go grocery shopping with me sometime and look at any random cart (other than mine, of course. LOL). I challenge you to locate in ay of them one item that is actual, real food. Nothing but processed, packaged crap and corpses as far as the eye can see. Not one produce item. How often I wish I could set up a stand by the cash registers, offering a free critique of what people are buying, along with ethical vegan and health/nutritional info. I'd spend my whole day saying, "Put it all back and go directly to the produce section, and when you get home bookmark the Vegan Epicurean blog." ;-)
    I'm sure a line would form... lol. But really, it makes me ill, especially when I see what people are feeding their children. *sigh*

  16. Lalo,

    You are too funny! LOL

    I agree with you on other peoples carts. I can't help but notice when we grocery shop. Normally what I see makes me cringe. The "food like substances" people consume completely confuses me. Sadly I used to buy stuff like that too, before I got smarter. ;-) I really believe that anyone can change if they want to.

    talk to you later,

  17. Red lentils are my absolute favorite, your soup looks delish!:)

  18. Janet,

    You and my Dan, he loves them too. When we were at the healthfood store he bought them out. I think we have 5 pounds of red lentils in the house now. LOL


  19. I made the soup to go with our salad for dinner tonight and it was delicious! My only change was to use a 14-oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and a smaller can of tomato sauce (because that's what was in the cupboard). It was super easy and my husband loved it too. I stirred it occasionally as it was cooking.

  20. Laura,

    Thanks for letting me know you liked this. It is one of those really easy dishes, which I think is part of the charm. Sounds perfect with a salad for dinner.



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