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.
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. 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.