Black Lentil Summer Minestrone

Black lentils are a great source of protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and zinc. They are the most nutritious in the lentil family hold up well in soups. Minestrone is, by definition a thick, vegetable soup. Using up an overabundance of summer vegetables and freezing some of this for another time is an excellent way to utilize your vegetables and savor summer flavors.

8-10 servings

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Cups chopped red onion

2 Cups roughly chopped fennel (1 large or 2 small) I save the delicious fronds for pesto or a garnish

4 large carrots large diced  roughly 1/2” pieces

1 bunch of asparagus chopped into rough 3/4” pieces

2 Cups large diced butternut squash roughly chopped 1/2 - 3/4” pieces

1 - bouquet garnet (parsley, rosemary and thyme)

1- 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and liquid

6 cups of vegetable broth, separated, you may not want to use it all

1 - 1/2 Cups of well-rinsed black lentils, I used beluga and regular, both were great
2 Cups (dry) gluten free shells or small pasta of choice. I like whole Foods organic chick pea shells. They hold up nicely in the soup.

Instructions

1. In a large stock pot sauté onions, fennel and carrots with olive oil on med/high heat stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.

2. Add in chopped butternut squash and asparagus and stir for several minutes

3. Add in bouquet garnet and stir gently for 2-3 more minutes.

4. Add in lentils and 4 cups of broth. Reduce heat to low/medium, cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add in tomatoes and pasta shells, cover and continue to simmer for an additional 25-35 minutes depending on the lentils you use.

5. If you find the soup is too thick, add in the reserved liquid. The soup will also thicken up as it cools.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with extra parsley, basil & fennel fronds.
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