Updated: Jan 15, 2022
This is a huge bang for your buck meal that is nourishing, budget-friendly and easy peasy to prep in the Instant Pot and stove top too! My spin...I repurpose Bolognese homemade sauce when I have it on hand. I love using a lentil medley (black, red, brown & golden) but you can use any color lentil. Lentils are high in iron, folate & fiber (both soluble & insoluble) which means happy gut and happy moving waste through. Soaking them overnight supports digestive health by removing the digestive enzymes and phytic acid that prevents absorption of minerals. They are loaded with phenols a compound which makes them antioxidant-rich, antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effect and are cardio-protective. Not to mention that you get a good dose of plant-based protein. This soup also boasts additional veggies so the meal can accommodate a variety of vegetables if you are trying to clean up the fridge.
Be Creative! Prep, set and forget with the magic pot.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes in the Instant Pot, 40-45 minutes on Stove top
In the Mix:
Prep Italian Soffritto:
3 garlic cloves, pressed and minced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large shallot or 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
Small zucchini (or 1/2 large one), diced
2-3 heaping cups spinach, kale (if you don’t have no worries, you already have a fair amount of phytonutrients), collard greens, swiss chard or garnish with microgreens or pea shoots
1/2 cup, chopped & loosely packed parsley or 3 tsp of Italian Seasoning (dry)
3 tsp of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper ( to finish)
Red pepper flakes (optional to finish)
1 cup lentils, soaked overnight & rinsed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie broth. Homemade if you can.
1 1/2 cups homemade sauce if you have on hand (I usually batch Bolognese sauce the week), can also be marinara or use one 15 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes (I use fire roasted). If you are NOT using homemade sauce, use a 28 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes.
• Press sauté setting on your Instant Pot & heat oil, then shallots (or onions), cook for
2 -4 minutes or until translucent, add garlic, cook until fragrant.
•Add carrots, celery, zucchini and sauté until tender (about 3 mins)
•Add Italian seasoning blend, sauté another minute or so.
•Add lentils, broth, diced tomatoes or sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. •Cancel sauté setting.
•Secure lid, seal pressure valve. Select manual pressure cook function & set time for 5 minutes at high pressure. This doesn’t include the time it takes to build pressure which is about 15 minutes. Then the cook time begins.
• When cooking time ends, let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Then vent, release any pressure left In the pot. Don't let sit beyond that otherwise it will turn to Dahl.
• Open pot, stir in spinach if you are using. Let sit for a few minutes to wilt or garnish bowls with microgreens, pea shoots or parsley.
•Add some grated parmigiano or nutritional yeast (optional).
Bonus Optional Tip: Add diced chicken sausage or any nitrate-free sustainably sourced sausage for added protein if you are not using Bolognese sauce.
Stove Top Version: Use a Dutch oven or pot of choice. Add oil, then follow cooking steps above, once you add lentils to liquid, bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in greens at the end.