Last Thursday I got out of work at 2pm instead of my usual 6pm. This is something we do for everyone when they are working a half day on Saturday, but it always feels like I’m skipping school or something. I always feel like I need to do something with this bonus time rather than let it be consumed by trash tv and naps, so I ended up cooking and baking in a frenzy. I really only meant to make granola. We had some leftover plain yogurt from making grapefruit cake, and I was not looking to eat it without something delicious on top (who does that?). Before I got home, I decided I needed to start meal prepping too, so I thought I’d make something easy in the crock pot. I’d been so focused on baking for the farmer’s market that my regular cooking was seriously suffering. I was itching to stretch those muscles, so I got right to it upon arrival home.
I got the soup started right away, and when I was rummaging in the fridge for lost celery in the crisper, I realized there was some leftover buttermilk that was also from baking at the market. I’d hate for it to go unused, left to be forgotten until several months from now when it is growing into a furry creature. I figured I probably had all the ingredients needed for buttermilk biscuits, so I got to work on that, too. Why the fuck not? I’m waiting for the soup to cook anyway, and the granola was already in the oven. My last biscuit recipe didn’t turn out all that well, so I went to the queen of cooking (IMO) at Smitten Kitchen. Deb never fails me. I only fail myself by touching the dough too much.
Naturally, once the biscuits were done (and they actually had flaky layers!), I took one bite and said to T, “I think we should have biscuits and gravy for dinner.” And so it was. I finished making this soup, but it went straight into the fridge for another night while I went to work on making mushroom breakfast gravy that was based on my original recipe, but included a lot more butter. Fear not – the soup reheats beautifully. We’ve been happily eating bowls of it for the last 3 days, sloppily dipping crusty buttered sourdough into the broth, or crumbling up a biscuit over the top to soak up all the creamy goodness. The last bowl is set aside for my lunch tomorrow, when my deliciously long weekend abruptly comes to a halt. What’s most infuriating is that I finally had all this meal prepping energy a day before this gloriously long weekend. We ate like queens all weekend, but I should really have set more aside for work lunches. It leaves me with 2 lunches, which almost takes me through my arduous 3 day work week (yes, I also have Tuesdays off), so I guess not all is lost.
This recipe used up a ton of ingredients that were on the verge of going bad (or simply at risk for being ignored). The lentils* had honestly been sitting in my cabinet since long before the move from the old place. They desperately needed to be included, and now was their moment to shine. They add the meaty texture that this soup would otherwise lack, with an added boost of nutritional value. Plus, they’re just plain good (to quote one of my idols, Molly Yeh)!
Why aren’t we (me) all using lentils more?
*After further investigation, it appears as though those lentils had been sitting around even longer than I realized. I’ve been looking for ways to use them since asking for your help in this post. Sigh.
Vegetarian Lasagna Soup
1 pound pasta (I used chickpea based pasta for added nutrients, but any pasta will work here) – sub gluten free pasta if you’re gluten free!
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup dry brown lentils
1 – 28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large (or 2 medium) zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons powdered garlic (or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes (I added all of these things)
Start the crockpot out with the veggie stock, lentils, onion, celery, oregano, and garlic (and a pinch of red pepper flakes if you’re feeling spicy) on high heat. Stir well and let sit for 2 hours. Add in the can of tomatoes and zucchini and cook for another 2-3 hours. Finally, add in the pasta and cook for another 12 minutes. If you want a creamy soup, now is your chance to add 1/4 cup heavy cream (whole fat coconut milk would be a great vegan substitute here) and maybe a generous handful of parmesan (skip if you’re vegan). Stir to combine and serve with some fancy ass bread from Whole Foods (or homemade if you’re that ambitious). I served mine with homemade biscuits because apparently I think I am Betty fucking Crocker.