Slow cooker white bean soup with sausage and collard greens recipe (stovetop version, too)

hearty and filling | pamela salzman

I know so many of you are fighting cold weather and stuffy noses, so I thought I would share with you a new favorite soup in our house.  My friend and student Lynette gave me the recipe because it has been popular with her family.  Nothing beats a warm and hearty bowl of soup when you’re not feeling 100% and this one is particularly fantastic since you place everything into a slow cooker in the morning and it’s ready by dinnertime (also great when you’re not feeling 100%.)

always rinse your beans before using

People in my classes have been begging me for more slow cooker recipes, especially the dump-and-start kind.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, do not fear.  I will give you directions for a stovetop version.  Whereas I normally prefer to saute aromatic vegetables before using them in a soup or stew since it adds more flavor, in this recipe the extra step doesn’t make much difference.  Lucky us!  Although the original recipe doesn’t call for it, I prefer to soak my beans to neutralize the phytic acid, a hard-to-digest anti-nutritient.  Soaking is optional though, as the slow cooker will easily cook the beans to a creamy softness without soaking.

I think these are pretty "clean."

put the ingredients in the insert and press "start"

This was a perfect entree soup for dinner paired with corn muffins and a green salad.  More importantly, all my kids, including the picky one, just loved it.  I know some people can’t get into the idea of “just” soup for dinner.  But I promise this is a hearty one.  Beans are loaded with protein and fiber which both help keep you full for longer.  There is also a small amount of sausage in the soup (I used chicken sausage) which you can omit if you’re vegetarian or vegan or use your favorite vegan sausage to add a little smokiness to the soup.  For a more affordable dish, you can use a small ham hock for flavor instead of the sausage.

gorgeous collard greens

remove the stems and chop the greens

add collard greens 20 minutes before serving

In my opinion everything is better, more alkalizing and more nutritious with dark leafy greens.  I hope you are finding new and delicious ways to incorporate this food group into your diet.  Kale seems to be the “it” leafy green of the moment, that it’s nice to see another leafy green in a recipe.  Collard greens are used in this soup, but I’m sure cabbage or kale would be equally delicious here.  This recipe is a keeper no matter how you make it!

white bean and sausage soup | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup with Sausage and Collard Greens
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried beans (such as cannellini or great Northern), picked through for stones or debris, soaked* for at least 6 hours in cold water and drained
  • ½ pound andouille sausage links, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise (I used a 12-ounce package of Applegate Farms chicken apple sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 cups low-sodium or unsalted chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves cut into-bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste (salt will vary based on what stock or sausage you use)
  • unrefined olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a 4-6 quart slow cooker (mine is a 6.5 quart and it turned out great), combine the beans, sausage, onion, celery, and thyme. Add the broth and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.
  3. minutes before serving, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and add the collard greens. Cover and cook until the greens are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired.
Notes
*You don’t have to soak the beans if you don’t have time, but it makes them more digestible. You do need to soak them for the stovetop version.

For a stovetop version, sauté onions and celery in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add soaked, dried beans, sausage, thyme and stock. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook covered until beans are tender, bout 60-90 minutes. Add greens and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.

 

Roasted Whole Bone-In Turkey Breast Recipe

This is it, friends!  We’re in the home stretch and I’ve got one last recipe to share before the big day.  By now you know I get most excited about the side dishes, but in my classes I spend more time answering questions about turkey.  What size should I order?  What kind of turkey should I buy?  Why does my turkey always turn out dry?  How do I know when it’s done?  What do you think about deep frying a turkey?  (I don’t.)  And so on.  Even though I’ve been around this block quite a few times, and I’ll admit that I can get a little unnerved when it’s time to make the turkey.  With so many factors at play here, e.g. size, temperature of the bird, variance in oven temperatures, and so many methods, e.g. dry brine, wet brine, kosher, breast side down, basting every 20 minutes, etc., it can be a little tricky knowing how to achieve the best result.  I think most of my turkeys have turned out great.  But I’ve had my mishaps and I have learned there’s always a solution, even when I forgot to close the door to my garage refrigerator and my turkeys were about 80 degrees the next morning.  Total rookie move, and that was three years ago. (I didn’t cook them, by the way.  I went to Whole Foods at 7:00 am and bought 2 brined turkeys.  Problem solved!)

I’ve really only cooked two different versions of turkey, a whole roasted bird and a whole roasted breast.  Like I said, I get more excited and have more fun with the side dishes!  But traditionally since the turkey is the star of the show, I like to put my best foot forward and prepare a delicious bird.  Normally I roast two whole turkeys on Thanksgiving, but a whole roasted breast can come in handy for a smaller crowd or to supplement a whole turkey if most of your guests prefer white meat.  I’ve tested many methods for cooking a breast and this is hands-down my favorite.  It is also a little different from how I cook a whole turkey.  Whereas I prefer dry brining a whole turkey, I’ll go for the wet brine with a turkey breast which is much more easy to maneuver in a ziptop bag full of brining liquid. (Unlike the time in 2001 when my bag o’brine surrounding my 20-pound turkey exploded all over my kitchen floor.  Cleaning that mess was definitely NOT on the schedule.)  Either way, it is key to get that meat pre-seasoned with salt so it’s tasty and stays moist.  It makes a huge difference!

I’ve made a dozen of these whole breasts over the last couple weeks and each one has turned out moist and flavorful.  The best part is that with this straightforward method, there’s no constant basting and no worrying about wether or not the thigh meat will cook at the same rate as the breast.  Funny, the question I received the most after classes this month was “why do we only make turkey on Thanksgiving?”

Roasted Whole Bone-In Turkey Breast
Author: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • For the brine: (do not brine a kosher turkey)
  • 1⅓ cups Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 quarts ice water
  • 1 brining bag or heavy duty gigantic Ziploc bag
  • For the turkey:
  • 1 , 6-7 pound whole bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter or unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock or water (stock will allow you to make gravy)
  • Gravy
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (or a gluten-free flour blend, such as King Arthur's Multi-purpose)
  • 3- 3 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Make the brine: In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and 1 quart water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir the ice water into the brine and make sure this mixture is cool before proceeding, otherwise add more ice.
  2. Place the brining bag in a large bowl or pot and transfer the turkey to the bag. Pour in the brine into the bag with additional ice, if needed. Seal the bag securely! Refrigerate the turkey for 12 to 18 hours.
  3. About an hour before cooking, remove the turkey from the brine, rinse thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the thyme, black pepper and butter in a small bowl. Loosen the skin from the breast and open it to make a pocket. Spread the butter mixture directly on the meat. Rub a little all over the skin. Place the turkey breast-side down in a v-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Add the stock. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Turn turkey breast-side up (I wear rubber gloves to flip) and tent with foil. Continue to roast until an instant read thermometer registers 160-165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. The temperature of the meat is more important than how long the turkey is in the oven!
  6. Remove from oven and keep covered with foil and allow to rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Carve and serve with pan juices or prepare gravy. Don't forget to save the carcass for making stock!
  7. To make gravy: remove the turkey from the roasting pan, pour the pan drippings into a fat separator.
  8. Pour the wine and the pan juices (that have been separated from the fat) back into the roasting pan, and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits. Strain into a bowl and set aside.
  9. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the reserved fat until it is bubbly. If you don't get 3-4 Tablespoons of fat from the drippings, add some olive oil. Add the flour and whisk rapidly to cook the flour.
  10. Strain the mixture from the roasting pan into the saucepan and 2 cups of stock. Cook, while rapidly stirring, until smooth and thickened, 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining stock as needed to achieve desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes
Check out my video on how to make gravy and carve the breast at the bottom of this post!

 

Mushroom and leek stuffing recipe

When I married my husband over 17 years ago (gasp!), I was more than excited to start hosting some of the holidays at our new home.  But I soon realized that my husband’s traditions were slightly different from the ones I grew up with, especially on Thanksgiving.  What?  No first course of pasta with marinara sauce?  Strange, I thought, but I could adapt!  My mother-in-law kindly shared with me the way things were done on the West Coast.  She liked to serve everyone a salad to start and plate the main dinner for each person in the kitchen.  Turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing were all givens, and their stuffing of choice was Pepperidge Farm.  No problem!

My husband and I have hosted every Thanksgiving since 1996 and enjoy the comfort that develops when you do something over and over again.   I have since incorporated my own traditions like buffet – easier and much less waste – and soup to start.  About 6 years ago I decided to examine the ingredients on the seemingly innocuous bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing.  Holy crap.  I couldn’t believe the garbage that went into breadcrumbs!  One thing I knew for certain was that Pepperidge Farm was uninvited to Thanksgiving…forever!

Actually, if it were up to me, I would drop stuffing from the menu altogether.  I really don’t get it.  With ALL the delicious food on the Thanksgiving table, many of the dishes starchy, we’re going to eat gussied up bread, a food we already overeat on every other day of the year??  I was trying to explain to my husband that mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are all starches, as is the obligatory cornbread.  We should balance out the meal with additional vegetables, like Brussels sprouts!  “You’re taking this health food thing a little too far.  The stuffing stays!”

Although I like to think of myself as the dictator of my kitchen empire, the director of Thanksgiving, I’m really a democratic leader.  I figured my only option was to create a delicious, higher quality stuffing that looked like Pepperidge Farm and tasted enough like it, but even better.  So here’s my take on a good classic stuffing that’s not too gourmet, in fact tastes very close to our old preservative-laden standby.    I usually make two for our dinner, one with mushrooms to suit me and one without for my hubby.

I’ve tried this stuffing with whole grain breads like whole wheat or spelt, but truthfully it tastes a little “wheat-y.”  There was a fantastic bread I used to buy from Whole Foods called Miche, which was a sourdough bread made of a blend of whole wheat and white flours.  That was about as whole grain as my family could take on Thanksgiving.  Truth be told,  I prefer to go down in our family history as the benevolent one who said, “ let them eat stuffing!”


5.0 from 1 reviews
Mushroom and Leek Stuffing
Author: 
Serves: 8-10 (although I make 2 for 24 people on Thanksgiving and it is plenty)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds rustic whole wheat or white bread, hard crust removed
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning or 2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or 3 teaspoons if using unsalted stock
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock (depending on if you like it wet or dry)
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small dice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bread in a food processor and process into large crumbs or cut into ½-inch dice. (I like to do a combination.) You should have 10 cups. Spread bread over 2 large shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until completely dry, about 25 minutes. Transfer bread to a large bowl.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees and grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, onion, leeks, and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally until softened, 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in thyme, sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Add vegetables to bread, tossing to combine.
  6. Pour chicken broth over the bread mixture, tossing to coat evenly.
  7. Spread stuffing in a baking dish, dot with butter and cover tightly with foil. Bake in upper third of oven until heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake stuffing until top is browned, 10 – 15 minutes more. Stuffing can also be baked in a well-greased 12-cup muffin tin.
Notes
Bread crumbs can be prepared several days in advance.
Vegetables can be chopped the day before.
Entire casserole can be prepared up to the point of baking the day before and refrigerated or frozen and then thawed and baked according to the directions.

 

Provençal Goat Cheese Gratin Recipe

If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have been wondering this week if I fell off the face of the internet.  Believe it or not, I went back to Europe!  Except this time, I traveled solo and it was all work.  Last Friday I left the land of sandy beaches for the gorgeous countryside of Southwest France where I met eight fabulous ladies, several of whom are my cooking class students, for a one-week culinary retreat.

I was invited to Saint Antonin Noble Val by a lovely American couple who visited the region several years ago and decided to stay for good.  During the summer, Alisa and Bruce run Raison d’Art, an art camp for teenagers.  But in the off-season, they host specialty retreats for adults at a restored 200 year-old farmhouse.  When they asked me last winter if I would consider leading a culinary week in their area, it didn’t take long for me to say “OUI!”

I did miss you all very much and had every intention of blogging, but my students were keeping me very busy this week and away from the computer.  We started out our days with invigorating hikes in the countryside followed by breakfast at the house.  But we weren’t here to relax.  Several mornings involved scouring the local open markets for ingredients to be used in our evening classes.  Alisa and Bruce also took us around to visit many neighboring villages and local artisans, including a family-run vineyard and a goat farm, where we bought the most insanely delicious goat cheese.  And everyday we adopted the French way by lingering for several hours over lunch, not that we had much of a choice – lunch is a serious time of day where ALL the shops and businesses except restaurants close from 12-2 (or longer) and no one is in a rush.

When we returned to the house at the end of each day, we all came together in the kitchen for our hands-on cooking classes.  Normally my classes back home are demonstration, but this was such fun for me to cook side by side with all the students.  I even tried a few things for the first time, such as potimaron, a delicious winter squash that I have yet to see in the states, as well as a few goat and sheep cheeses that that were so crazy good.  A lot of love went into our cooking and we enjoyed eating a delicious dinner together every night.  All the teaching wasn’t done by me, however.   After dinner, the ladies taught me how to play Canasta, an addictive card game I have yet to win.  Next time!

I wish I had been able to take more pictures while we were cooking and share some recipes along the way, but I was caught up in the energy of the kitchen and the lighting in 200 hundred year-old farmhouses isn’t all that fantastic either.  One recipe that I was able to photograph a bit of was this Provencal Goat Cheese Gratin that we ate with herbed flatbreads which we made ourselves.  Goat cheese is something I expected to see in France, but I had no idea how incredible it would be.  Nor did I expect that I’d choose to eat it twice day!

The goat cheese we bought was so fresh and made from raw goat’s milk, which is closer in composition to human milk than cow’s milk.  Raw dairy from goat, sheep or cow is also much easier for us to digest.  Several of the students commented that they can’t eat cheese in the U.S., but the goat cheese in France was no problem.  We enjoyed local goat cheese so many different ways – from super young and fresh to slightly aged.  We had it rolled in herbs or shallots, baked warm in a salad or broiled on a tartine.  By the end of the week, Bruce was making us goat cheese sampler plates to nosh on with fresh bread and local wine while we cooked.  Verrrry nice!

This baked gratin was a hit and it was super easy, too.  We simply made a bed of crumbled fresh goat cheese on the bottom of a fluted baking dish and topped it with a quick homemade fresh tomato sauce, fresh thyme, oregano and sliced oil-cured olives.  The gratin was broiled just until the goat cheese was warm.   It’s the perfect thing to make as an hors d’oeuvre since it’s easy, delicious and can be assembled ahead and broiled just when your guests arrive.  Although we baked our own flatbreads for scooping up the dip, I’ve also eaten this smeared on toast or fresh bread.  I imagine it would also be amazing with eggs.  Perhaps my next post will be titled, “How to Eat Your Way Through France Without Gaining Weight!”

Provençal Goat Cheese Gratin
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Sauce:*
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Gratin:
  • 10 ounces soft goat cheese (rindless)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, minced or a pinch of dried
  • 20 black olives (such as French Nyons), pitted and quartered
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Score the bottom of the tomatoes and place in the water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Peel the tomatoes, cut in half around the “equator,” remove the seeds and finely chop.
  2. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Preheat the broiler.
  4. Crumble the cheese on the bottom of a 10-inch round baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the herbs. Spoon just enough tomato sauce to evenly coat the cheese. Sprinkle with the olives and the remaining herbs.
  5. Place the baking dish under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat. Broil until the cheese is melted and fragrant, and the tomato sauce is sizzling, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve with crackers, toast, flatbread or fresh bread.
Notes
*You can also substitute 1 ½ - 2 cups jarred tomato sauce for the fresh.

Rustic butternut squash soup with fennel and wild rice

One way that I have learned how to be a more confident cook is by identifying certain “formula” recipes and then just changing the ingredients around to come up with something that seems like a different recipe. One day last year after I was bored with making Mushroom and Barley Soup for the umpteenth time, I changed a few ingredients based on what I had in the fridge and voila!  A new soup was born.  After a weekend of over-indulging (I keep leaving the house just before 4:00 when I know the craving for pumpkin pie will hit), this is exactly the kind of thing I want to eat.   It is light, but filling and very satisfying.  A bonus is that it is awesome with turkey stock, which I have loads of right now.  The kids are also happy to have this soup in their thermoses at school for a nourishing lunch, especially if I toss in a little shredded leftover turkey.

 

You can use any vegetables or grains you want or even substitute white beans or chickpeas, but one of my rules for a good diet is variety.  The day I made up this soup, I poked around the pantry and found a lonely bag of wild rice that I hadn’t said hello to in a while.  Funny thing about wild rice is that it’s actually not a rice at all, but really a grass.  And most of the wild rice that we find in our local markets is not really “wild,” but cultivated.  I love it all the same.   (Not) wild (not) rice is an absolutely delicious and nutritious whole food that you probably never eat.  It is nutty and almost smoky-sweet with a great chewy texture.  Wild rice is extremely high in folic acid (an essential B-complex vitamin lacking in many people’s diets), potassium and fiber.  Plus, that dramatic black color provides some powerful phytonutrients that aren’t easy to come by in nature.

Although this recipe came about as a pleasant surprise (just like my third child!), it has since become a regular in my repertoire.  Some things in life are just meant to be.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Rustic Butternut Squash Soup with Fennel and Wild Rice
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (or use all oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup wild rice (or whole grain of choice -- adjust cooking time accordingly)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (double this if using unsalted stock) + more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups vegetable, chicken or turkey stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
  • a few green leafies, such as Swiss chard, coarsely chopped (if using chard, chop stems and keep separate from leaves)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and fennel (add chopped chard stems, if using.) Sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the thyme, rice, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, partially cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in butternut squash, cover slightly and simmer for an additional 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender. Add chopped greens and stir until wilted.
  4. Taste for seasoning and garnish with fennel fronds, if desired. If you like a little acidity, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar. (I think the soup is better with the vinegar.)

 

Lentil and brown rice soup recipe + Instant Pot version

lentil and brown rice soup | pamela salzman
Everyone needs a lentil soup recipe in the repertoire.  This is a classic and a nourishing one at that.  I grew up on lentil soup and my mom was into creating “complete proteins” when we had a vegetarian meal.  The thought back then was that if you were eating a meatless meal, then you would need to combine certain foods to create the same complete protein profile as animal protein.   Now we know that it is not necessary to eat those complementary foods in the same dish to gain the benefits of consuming all the essential amino acids, but I still adore the combination of lentils and brown rice in my soup.

brown rice and lentil soup | pamela salzman

I prefer to use French lentils, which hold their shape much better than the flat brown ones, but really you can use what you’ve got.  I vary this soup often, sometimes adding a few chopped up green beans or a teaspoon of ground cumin for an earthy twist.  I always throw in a few handfuls of dark green leafies at the end, spinach and kale being my favorites.  And tomatoes only get to join the party if they’re in season since I almost never buy canned tomatoes (ugh, aluminum.)  Try garnishing with freshly grated pecorino-romano, it adds a great zest to the soup.

lentil and brown rice soup | pamela salzman

For you lunchbox-packers out there, lentil soup is fabulous the next day in a thermos.  And the kiddos get a lunch that will provide stable blood sugar levels, great protein for the brain, and long-lasting energy.

brown rice and lentil soup | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
lentil and brown rice soup + Instant Pot version*
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 14.5-ounce can, drained ( I used ½ box Pomi)
  • 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, turkey stock, or water
  • 2 cups French lentils, picked over and rinsed (you can use whatever lentils you can find, such as black or Puy, but note that cook times may vary)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 big handfuls spinach, kale or chard (ribs removed), coarsely chopped in large pieces
  • ½ cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions or add with lentils and increase liquid by an additional 1 cup
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring until tender. Stir in tomatoes and cook for a minute. Add stock, lentils, uncooked brown rice (if you’re adding it here), thyme and 2 teaspoons salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Pull out the thyme sprigs and discard. Add greens and stir until wilted.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you didn’t add raw brown rice to the pot with your lentils, add the cooked brown rice to the pot now or put a little in each bowl and ladle the soup on top.
Notes
*To make in the Instant Pot:
Press the "saute" button and wait a couple minutes for the insert to heat up. Add the oil, carrots, celery, onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute.
Add stock, lentils (I tested with French green and black), raw brown rice, thyme and salt. Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to turn the machine off. Secure the lid on top of the insert and lock closed. Make sure the vent is closed. Press manual and make sure it's on High Pressure. I cooked it for 12 minutes and thought that was perfect. The Instant Pot will take a few minutes to come up to pressure, so it will say ON for a few minutes. Once the machine is done cooking, you can manually release the pressure or opt for natural release. Check the manual for an explanation of both.