Tomato and Lentil Soup

Served during Lent and on other fasting days, the hearty Greek soup is the antidote to a cold March day. Add a slice of crusty bread and a few black olives to finish the meal. Use a food processor to chop the vegetables if you’re short on time.

From Cooking Light Magazine
serves 6

2T olive oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ½ cups water or veggie stock
1 ½ cups lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 T chopped fresh dill, divided
2 bay leaves
1 dried red chili pepper
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
¾ tsp of salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in large stock pot. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook 10 min or until the veggies are tender, stirring frequently. Add water, dried lentils, 1 T dill, bay leaves, chile and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in remaining 1 T dill, vinegar, salt and black pepper; discard bay leaves and chili. Serve sprinkled with cheese and with extra balsamic vinegar if desired.

Monkfish Tale:

Whenever I use balsamic vinegar I think of my daughter Eden. Paul taught her to love balsamic vinegar from a very young age. She has her own little ceramic dish with a elephant painted on the bottom which is especially for her vinegar. She loves dipping crusty bread in it! When she was six I took her to a stations of the cross service. At one point, to help the children imagine what it was like for Jesus when he was thirsty on the cross, the pastor passed a sponge soaked in vinegar under their noses. Into the quiet of the mournful cathedral, Eden called out, “Balsamic Vinegar!! I LOVE balsamic vinegar!”