Nearly Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Bacon

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My baby brother graduated with his bachelor’s in criminal justice yesterday. So proud! I can still remember very well the day I helped him fill out college applications and now, he’s soon to be entering the “real world”. I remember thinking I wanted to be in the “real world”, too. I falsely believed I was “over” the quizzes, homework, and exams of college. And now, what I would give to go back!! College was the best 4 years of my life and I wish so much that I could relive those years again…and again…and again. Even with the tortures of biochemistry…and that says something!

I struggled in some classes, but I am fortunate in that test-taking and other academic skills came naturally to me. I’m a big nerd at heart and truly enjoy learning new things. My brother never quite had that knack for academics which makes his achievement all the more rewarding.

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He was so nervous for the ceremony, he didn’t sleep the night before. His stomach was in knots. Poor guy also stresses and worries about      e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! But there was nothing to worry over. The Chicago morning was beautiful, as was the Navy Pier ballroom where the ceremony was held. It was time for him to relax and enjoy.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare….well over an hour to spare. If there were a coffee shop around, I would’ve made a bee-line straight there, but I did the next best thing – browsed Pinterest for recipes on my phone. Being that it’s January and temperatures are dropping into single digits in the Midwest for the first time this week, I wasn’t surprised to see a lot of soup recipes.

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I can’t pinpoint why, but soup hasn’t been as appealing to me as it has in past years. I’ve been very selective about the soup recipes I’ve made, though I did find several that I now want to try. Something new.

Lentil soup isn’t new to me, but some of the ingredients in this recipe are. I love the massive amounts of smoked paprika with the red pepper flakes and fire-roasted tomatoes. So much flavor punch from all very healthy ingredients. The added touch is the bacon which you can certainly omit to make this a vegan meal. My favorite part of the recipe, however, is the ability to make it in the crock pot by throwing it all together (even easier if you omit the bacon!). Enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Bacon from The Lemon Bowl

2 slices uncured bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp salt
15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon slices until brown and crispy then remove from pan and set on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Add all ingredients including the cooked bacon to the slow cooker and heat on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4 hours. Stir and serve hot.

Yield: 5 servings (~1 1/2 cups each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 177 calories; 1.6 g. fat; 3 mg. cholesterol; 396 mg. sodium; 28.6 g. carbohydrate; 12.4 g. fiber;  11.6 g. protein

Result: This broth had great flavor – the paprika, red pepper flakes, and fire roasted red pepper…it was the perfect vehicle for the otherwise bland lentils. This recipe is easily made vegan by omitting the bacon, though I did enjoy that added flavor 😉 Enjoy!

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Other than Wednesday, this week looks pretty tame. 🙂 Good thing, the weekend FLEW by.

Be well,

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12 Comments

  1. January 21, 2013 / 7:18 am

    Congrats to the lil’ bro! Mine graduates from law school this May. Law school. That means he’s like a real person. Mind blown!

    And I also miss college from time to time… I only wish I could have a day or week with absolutely no responsibilities like that again…

  2. January 21, 2013 / 7:46 am

    Congrats to your brother!! I didn’t know he was studying criminal justice, that’s really awesome. I’ve always been secretly interested in that field….strangely enough.

    How ironic is it that we both posted “somewhat meatless” recipes today (mine was titled “could be meatless”. I laughed when I saw your title! I really need to try lentils in the slow cooker one of these days.

  3. January 21, 2013 / 8:50 am

    Too funny, I’ll be posting a lentil soup recipe today too! It was a weekend for lentils I guess, I saw them on some other blogs as well! Hah 🙂

  4. January 21, 2013 / 9:05 am

    Congrats to your little brother!

    This looks yummy– a little more “brothy” than most lentil soups. It looks like a nice change!

  5. January 21, 2013 / 11:26 am

    Best wishes to your brother!! Love the stats on this soup – and that you get 1.5 cups!

  6. Bre
    January 21, 2013 / 1:37 pm

    Congrats to your brother! This soup looks yummy! Does it matter what kind of lentils you use?

  7. January 22, 2013 / 9:50 am

    This looks so delicious! I’ve been thinking about cutting out meat at least one day a week, maybe not always Mondays, and now maybe not entirely cut out! 🙂 I can imagine that bacon adds the perfect, smoky flavor to this lentil soup. Thanks for sharing!

  8. January 22, 2013 / 1:24 pm

    Nicole,

    OMG, you remind me so much of me before I had my children: fat kid, finding the happy weight, nerdy, love of college, moderation in all foods……

    I came upon your site while Googling “is canola oil healthy.” I’m going to enjoy searching your blog in the months to come 🙂 So far, I really like it….which I don’t say very often!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      January 22, 2013 / 4:08 pm

      Paula, thanks for your sweet note…made me smile 🙂 Thanks so much for browsing around…hope you continue to enjoy the content!

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  10. Debbie
    February 18, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    I made this soup recently and it’s outstanding. Instead of bacon, I used spiral ham that I diced fine. Really a tasty soup. The family loved it. Next time I will double the recipe!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      February 18, 2014 / 7:41 pm

      Debbie, so glad you loved it!

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