Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Soup with Split Red Lentils
Yield: 4- 6 Servings
Hearty slow cooker winter vegetable soup with split red lentils. This healthy slow cooker soup recipe is packed with vegetables, red split lentils, and finished with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley, and parmigiano-reggiano cheese! Naturally gluten free (and vegetarian friendly: substitute vegetable broth in place of regular chicken broth).
2medium zucchiniends trimmed and chopped into ¾-inch chunks
3small Yukon gold potatoesscrubbed and chopped into ¾-inch cubes
¾cupsplit red lentils
1cup (240 mL)canned chopped tomatoeswith their juices
2piecesof parmigiano-reggiano rind
2dried bay leaves
3-4sprigs of fresh thyme
5cupslow-sodium chicken stockor vegetable broth
1teaspoonDiamond Crystal kosher sea saltplus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2-3cupsfinely sliced savoy cabbagereserved for later
extra virgin olive oilfor drizzling
freshly chopped flat-leaf parsleyor basil, for garnishing
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
If you own a stovetop-safe slow cooker insert: Heat the olive oil in the insert over medium heat on the stove. Add the onion and celery and saute until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, before transferring to the slow cooker and continuing with the instructions below.
If you do not own a slow cooker with a stovetop-safe insert (or wish to skip step one): Place the insert on the slow-cooker base (this recipe will fit a 4-quart capacity slow cooker). Add the olive oil, onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, potatoes, split red lentils, chopped tomatoes, parmigiano rind, bay leaves, thyme, chicken stock, kosher salt, and black pepper. Stir together. Cook on the high heat setting for 4 to 6 hours, or until the red lentils are tender (or alternatively, cook on the low heat setting for 8-10 hours).
In the last hour of cook time (or 2 hours, if you are cooking over the low heat setting), add the thinly sliced cabbage. Remove and discard the dried bay leaves and any tough thyme sprigs. Adjust the seasoning to taste salt and pepper – you will most likely need to be liberal on the salt for this soup.
Serve the soup and top each serving with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley, and freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
Tips for Success:
Older lentils tend to dry out and might take significantly longer to cook. Try to find a bag at the grocery store or choose them from a bulk bin that gets refreshed often (i.e. not the bag of lentils that has been sitting in your convenience store for three years on the top shelf).