March 2010: Legumes!
The vegetable of the month for March 2010 is: Legumes!
Legumes are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available, and are often inexpensive as well. Typically good sources of protein as well as high in fiber and low in fat, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat. Common legumes are peas, snap beans, shell beans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, split peas, lentils, navy beans and pinto beans.
Lentil soup is a good basic soup and at only $1.59 a bag, lentils are very inexpensive. In fact, this lentil soup recipe can be made for about $6 or less and makes 10 servings.
Lentil Soup4 slices of bacon, diced (optional) or 1 tablespoons olive oil 3 carrots, peeled and diced 3 celery sticks, diced 1 onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 8 cups water 2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed if necessary half a 28-oz can of tomatoes, with juice (freeze the rest for next time) 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon salt a few red pepper flakes (optional)
In a large pot, heat the bacon until browned, about 5 minutes. If bacon is very fatty, pour out all but about 1 tablespoons of oil; or use about 1 tablespoons olive oil instead of the bacon. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5-10 minutes.
Add water, lentils, tomatoes and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper.