My sister and I started the tradition of having lentil soup around New Year’s during our first year of law school when we lived together in San Francisco. It wasn’t really a conscious choice, but we found out that eating lentils around the new year is supposed to bring money and good fortune in the coming year, according to Italian lore, and so the tradition stuck.
I mean, because who doesn’t want money and good fortune? I sure do.
Here’s a delicious way to get your lentils (not to mention a crapload of veggies!) And it’s gluten free. And vegan. So, y’know, make a big ol’ pot and invite the pickiest of eaters over.*
*Although, I find it’s especially delicious with a giant hunk of sourdough slathered in butter, so…
based on Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 1 pound green lentils
- 3 medium to large yellow onions, diced
- 2-3 leeks, white part trimmed, washed, and sliced thin
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch celery, trimmed and chopped
- 1 large bunch carrots, chopped (I just do the amount that comes in the Trader Joe’s bag)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried cumin
- 3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste, or 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Optional for serving: freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, cover lentils with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain. If the water is murky, rinse lentils in warm water.
- To a large stockpot over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, cumin, salt (start with 1 tsp) and pepper. Saute until softened and fragrant (10-15 minutes).
- Add stock, tomato paste (or tomatoes), and lentils. Cover and let come to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, then simmer uncovered for 1 hour (until lentils are cooked through).
- Add red wine vinegar, then salt and pepper to taste. Top bowls with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.
Devour and then reap your wealth in the new year!