Basic Lentil Soup (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

Obviously, Bittman calls for vegetable broth (or water) in his Vegetarian cookbook, but since I’m not actually a vegetarian, I usually use chicken broth. How much salt you need to add will depend a lot on your broth.

2-3 main dish servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 celery stalks, diced small
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup lentils, washed and picked over
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook until just brown around the edges, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the lentils, broth, bay leaf, and black pepper, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the soup at a simmer.

2. Once the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Serve. The soup can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated.