(Sort Of) Summer Soup

I am sure by now you may have caught on to the idea that I’m typically up to something, even when I might not actually be up to anything specific. And if you really know me, then you know despite the vagueness of that statement, it somehow perfectly sums up my journey in discovering the healthy lifestyle that best works for me. The choices I make may not make sense for you, or anyone else, but that’s the fun part – you can always try new things and figure it out along the way.

I recently challenged myself to cut back on fruits, and implement more vegetables, and non-meat protein in my diet. I am used to eating a decently high-protein diet, but I’ve found most of my protein intake comes from eggs, chicken or beef, and my pre/post-workout shakes. There are so many other forms of protein out there, and while I am always a fan of fruit, I wanted to balance out the sugars and carbs from those with some of the important nutrients of yummy veggies.

What better way to do this, I decided, than with a summer-time soup! I know. Soup? In August? In New York City? Yeah, I am a little crazy…and my apartment doesn’t have air conditioning haha but man, was this recipe worth the sweats! I’ve included the details below, with a few additional recommendations/substitution options. The best part? This recipe made enough soup to feed me (by myself) dinner for the next two weeks! I put a container in the fridge for this week, and one in the freezer for next. πŸ™‚

Ingredients:
1/2 onion (chopped)
6-8 medium sized carrots
1 quart vegetable broth
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/2 can or 5-7 peeled crushed tomatoes (w/juice)
2 stalks bok choy
2 cups red lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:
1. Saute the chopped onion in olive oil, adding in salt and pepper.

2. Add in the chopped carrots and continue cooking for a few minutes, making sure the vegetables are all coated.

3. In a separate pot, heat vegetable broth. Add in carrots and onions and cook until the carrots begin to soften – about 6-8 minutes.
*If you are not a fan of vegetable broth, or would just prefer avoiding it, you can also just use water!*

4. Add the bok choy, then top with the chopped zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes (I did this backward in my photo, but would recommend adding the bok choy first!). Mix well, so that everything is covered with the broth.
*I used a large stalk of bok choy because that’s what they had at my Farmer’s Market that morning, but would have preferred baby bok. Some ideas other than bok choy include string beans, spinach, or another leafy green*

5. In a separate pan, prepare the lentils. This can be done simply by heating a small amount of olive oil, then tossing the lentils until they are completely coated.
*You can also use mung beans, or another bean instead of lentils*

6. Add the heated lentils to the soup and mix them well. Keep in mind – they will expand a little bit in size!

7. Allow everything to simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.

8. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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