So many things going for this recipe!, Member NewEnglander75
This recipe has so many things going for it - it's about the easiest recipe you'll find, it's incredibly inexpensive, it's filling and delicious, and it's very healthy. (Yes, it has bacon, but even with extra bacon added, the amount per serving is very small, and much of the fat has been rendered out before adding it to the soup.) Everything else in it is uber-healthy. I doubled this recipe (I have a slow cooker with 3 bowl sizes, including a 6 qt. size) and doubled most of the ingredients. I tripled (give or take) the onion, and used four garlic cloves, and four strips of bacon (sliced thinly prior to cooking, for ease.) I used freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste, rather than measured. This just ramped up the flavor a bit, although I am quite sure this would have been delicious as originally written. And, I did not have fresh parsley, so I used dry. There can be a world of difference between the two, but for a recipe like this, I'm not sure if the dry made a noticeable difference. I also cooked this on HIGH for about 4 hours, rather than on low for a longer time. I often think the direction to cook on low is more for convenience (cook it while you're at work) than a necessity. Most recipes will turn out the same either way. This recipe is extremely economical. I don't go out of my way to cut expenses, but when it just happens, what a great thing! For 4 cups of lentils, I used 1.5 16 oz. (by dry weight) bags of lentils, purchased at Wal-Mart for 98 cents a bag. That's only about $1.50 for lentils for a huge pot of soup! The veggies were probably $1.00 total for the amount used in this doubled recipe, although I had to buy a lot more than needed for the recipe, so I had to spend more than $1.00 - probably $4.00 or $5.00. Tomatoes in a can are a buck or two. The big expense is the bacon, but a pack of generic brand bacon can be had for under $4.00, sometimes $2.99 on sale.... and generic is just fine here... and for that price, you have a bunch leftover. The oregano and parsley, in dry form, as well as the wine vinegar, are pretty common, so they're kind of freebies. (And you could leave out the vinegar or use another kind or even a small amount of wine, if needed.) This recipe is really pennies a serving... make a bunch and freeze some! It could also probably be made vegetarian with the substitution of a bit of olive oil and some liquid smoke for the bacon. A winner!
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