Red Lentil Soup for the Planet

Happy Earth Day! As someone that strives to be eco-conscious, I feel a tad guilty that I’m not out planting a tree today (or really, every day.) However, I am at home thinking about my energy consumption as I make this vegan soup… that’s gotta count for something, right?

I took an online quiz about my ecological footprint today. I think that was when the environmental guilt set in. If everyone on the planet lived my lifestyle, we would need 2.13 Earths. Eek. (You can find out your ecological footprint here.) I felt better for a moment knowing that my results were extremely low compared to our national average. Then I realized that meant as a country we’re wasting resources faster than we can count.

This led me to check out the EPA’s Earth Day site where, you too, can pick 5 actions you’re committed to that will improve the planet. Here are mine:

  1. Pass on gas! Take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  2. Learn about composting, try it out!
  3. Reuse. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transform it into something of greater use and value.
  4. When purchasing goods, opt for sustainable, recycled or reused resources. Choose items in less packaging.
  5. Cut back on the amount of “stuff” that could later end up as waste.

I’m an avid recycler, composter, and bus commuter. I do try to buy things used when possible, but I have a weakness for (sigh) kitchen appliances. If you happen to catch me in a kitchen store, you’re welcome to remind me of my pledge to not buy “stuff.” I’ll try to comply. :)

Now, back to the soup. This red lentil soup is light and the lemon makes it taste like spring. It also cooks up quickly (gotta love lentils!) and besides some chopping and stirring, is effortless.

2 cups red lentils
2 vegetable bouillon cubes*
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried dill
5 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice from 1 large lemon
1 Tb olive oil
6 cups water

Add the olive oil to a pot and put on medium heat. Add your onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, diced carrots, and diced celery and saute for about 5 minutes. Next, add the water, lentils, bouillon cubes, and dill and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked. The soup will begin to thicken so it requires occasional stirring (or the lentils will stick to the bottom and burn). Add the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how much broth you like, you can add a little more water if necessary. Garnish with fresh herbs (if desired) and serve!

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