I love lentils. They are as low in fat and high in protein as beans but because they have less fiber they are easier to digest. They don't need to be soaked and cook quickly - 30 minutes to an hour depending on their size. Beluga lentils are black and very small, looking more like caviar than lentils.
I only had a quart of vegetable stock on hand and no chicken broth so this recipe makes less soup than I would normally make. You can double it if you want and you can use chicken broth in place of the vegetable stock.
Beluga Lentil Soup
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup bell pepper, diced
½ cup celery, diced
1 Tbs jalapeño, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 qt vegetable stock (or chicken broth)
1 cup tomatoes, diced
⅔ cup Beluga lentils
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dry thyme
1 large boiling-type potato, cut into ½" cubes
a couple of dashes of hot sauce (or to taste)
1 Tbs fresh chives, chopped
½ Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp white wine vinegar
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Put the onions, carrots, bell pepper, celery, jalapeño, and garlic in a microwavable container that has a loose-fitting lid along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Nuke at 50% power for a few minutes at a time until softened. Add a little extra water if necessary. Alternatively you can soften them in oil in a skillet.
In a 2½- or 3-quart saucepan, add the vegetables, stock or broth, tomatoes, lentils, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the potatoes, hot sauce, chives, rosemary, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the lentils and potatoes are tender (20 minutes should do it).
The next time I make this I'm going to use chicken broth instead of vegetable stock, just to see what the difference is.