Delicious, colorful, and nourishing, this French-inspired soup is totally vegan, though adding a few slices of cooked sausage might better entice the carnivores. Using sweet potatoes instead of carrots gives the soup a unique flavor and adds a boost of Vitamin A.
LENTIL and SWEET POTATO SOUP2 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1 large sweet onion
2-3 celery ribs
1 leek, white part only, well washed and roughly chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbs. unbleached flour
10 cups vegetable stock
1 1/4 cups brown lentils
2-3 bay leaves
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and cubed
1/3 cup arborio rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Chop vegetables in food processor and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook another 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in stock.
3. Pick through lentils carefully and remove anything that isn’t a lentil. Add lentils, bay leaves, and 2 tsps. salt to soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add sweet potatoes and rice. Cook another 20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes and rice are done. Discard bay leaves.
5. Pureé 2 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor and return to the pot. Heat through, add parsley, and serve with hearty bread. 4-6 filling servings.