Meatball and Lentil Minestrone Soup
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Autumn is finally officially here! One of my favorite foods to eat when the weather starts turning cool is a comforting soup. I love the melange of flavors as they meld into each other, from the subtleties in the broth to each of the vegetables, herbs and spices and perhaps a little bit of meat, combined with a solid core of something to make the soup stand on its own, such as lentils.
The thing with lentils is that they take awhile to cook, and on a busy weeknight that can be a drag, even if a relaxed weekend is the perfect time for it. But I’ve come across these truRoots sprouted lentils which cook more rapidly in the grocery section at Target (although you can also order them from Target online and pick up locally). You may remember me using sprouted wheat flour in breads before. I loved it. And I loved this too, and the crux in that is that the sprouting process makes food easier to digest, as well as cooking faster.
Nothing fast about sprouting your own lentils or other legumes. It’s nice to be able to grab a bag of lentils where this has already been done for you, then conveniently dehydrated for the pantry.
And lentil soup has been one of my favorite soups since I was a child. Back then, it mostly came from a can unless my mother made it for me. But I have always been more of a soup queen than Mom ever was. In my teenage years I made many a soup that we enjoyed together. I always liked making them from bits of this and that, using what was in the vegetable bin, plus a few added things from the pantry, like the lentils. And soups are very forgiving if you like to adapt them that way.
So if you were in a rush to get the kids off to school and make it to work on time, without a chance to shop for something, making soup that way, or with this recipe, is certainly very easy to do. So you’ll probably want to keep these ingredients on hand for a Plan B- which for me, comes up more often than I like to admit.
Even though I have generous amounts of time to cook, there is still the chance that something just isn’t going to be done in that slow cooker anytime soon, or the meat I planned to cook is still…defrosting.
These quick cooking lentils with handy pantry ingredients can help your family mealtimes run more smoothly, so you can do together what families do best, eating, laughing and loving around the table rather than fretting over what will become of dinner. And you can even save a little money too, using the cartwheel offer from Target. The Cartwheel offer will be 30% off from September 24th – October 7th so make sure you latch onto that before it expires.
This soup uses a base of the dried lentils with a bit of pasta, jarred sauces and broths plus frozen meatballs, which pop into the soup frozen so you don’t need to worry about it if you didn’t get to defrost. I got some tiny meatballs which are SO CUTE! But you can use other commercial types as well–I think they all cook in about the same time, maybe a couple minutes extra, or maybe not.
Now as a lentil lover, the texture of these sprouted lentils after being dried and reconstituted is a bit more firm that you might me used to–quite unlike some lentils which just turn to mush, or as in the case of Indian dal soup, pretty much dissolve under their own weight. You may like them that way (I like them just about any way) but if you want them softer, thing is, by cooking the lentils until they are the way you like them, then adding the pasta to cook a few minutes more, it will be absolutely perfect.
Meatball and Lentil Minestrone Soup
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 24 ounces jarred marinara sauce
- 32 ounces beef stock
- 14 ounces frozen beef mini meatballs
- 1 cup truRoots Organic Sprouted Lentil Trio
- 1/2 cup uncooked gluten-free macaroni
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
- In a 2 quart soup pot or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil until they soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, parsley flakes, bay leaf, marinara sauce, beef stock and meatballs; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for twenty minutes.
- Add the lentils and cook for eight minutes, if they are not softened to your taste cook longer.
- When lentils are tender to your liking, stir in the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes more, or until macaroni is cooked through. If longer cooking evaporated too much water, just add some boiling water back in to compensate.
- Serve soup garnished with Parmesan cheese.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
And remember: check out the truRoots offer available at Target
through their Cartwheel app. Hurry, this offer won’t last long!