Crockpots are a busy mom’s best friend. No Joke. If you don’t have kids, you may or may not appreciate what a relief a great crockpot recipe can be. But when you have little ones, especially if you work, sometimes throwing dinner together is just such a hassle.
The aroma of a delicious dinner already prepared, a glass of wine, and ten quiet minutes alone are rare and coveted treats for many of us. Here I am giving you one of them, a nutritious and easy crockpot recipe. Only you have to promise to take ten minutes alone and have a glass of vino (if you partake) while it’s cooking.
Lentil soup is one of those things that is such a great staple; it is simultaneously hearty, nutritious, and relatively easy to make. I think my mom taught me how to make simple lentil soup when I was in High School. I have made countless variations of her recipe since and finally re-worked it to be crockpot friendly!
- A note about Vegetable Stock – every brand has a unique flavor. For instance, Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium (which is what I used here) is on the sweeter side and very “carroty”. My absolute favorite is Pacific Natural Foods Organic Vegetable Broth but I was out of it and keep the Trader Joe’s on hand for sauteing. When it comes to sauteing and you are just using a splash here or there, its’ not as big of a deal. There are many options out there and I recommend taste-tasting a few brands before picking one to use when you are using it as a base for soup.
- I used Green Swiss Chard (stems and leaves) but you could easily substitute Spinach, Kale (without stems), or even Escarole.
- I used a 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker for this soup. I think a 5.5 or 6 would also work but I wouldn’t go much smaller. Or you could halve the recipe.
- Cook Time:
If you want to have this cook all day while you are at work, set Crockpot to LOW with a cook time of 8 Hours.
Alternately, set Crockpot to HIGH with a cook time of 4 Hours (what I did).
- 3 medium carrots, chopped (or 4 small or 2 large)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large clove shallot, chopped
- 2 cups dry green lentils (rinsed)
- 8 cups Vegetable stock
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Add in 15 Minutes Before Cooking Time Ends:
- 1 head of Swiss Chard, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- I used the food processor to do my chopping. Most of the veggies only need a couple of pulses.
- carrots first ...
- Then celery ...
- Then onion, garlic, and shallot all at once ...
- Place chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and shallot into crockpot along with lentils, vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, bay leaf and dried thyme.
- Cover with lid and set cooking time (4 Hours on HIGH OR 8 Hours on LOW).
- Next, prep your swiss chard into bite-size pieces (I usually cut it both lengthwise and crosswise to achieve this), put in a bowl or ziploc bag and place in refrigerator for later.
- When cooking time is up, add in swiss chard, red wine vinegar, Kosher salt, black pepper, and ground cumin.
- Place lid back on and let sit covered for fifteen additional minutes before serving. This freezes great and makes 8 huge (1.5 cup) servings. Excellent served with a crusty bread and side salad. Enjoy!