Raise your hand if you overindulged in December. Raise your hand if you're recommitting to eating healthier. Now raise your hand if you're still somehow craving cheesy, hot comfort foods instead of salads and grilled veggies. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Things got a little... out of hand... for me at the end of the year. And while I'm normally not one to make big sweeping resolutions, the beginning of the year is as good a time as any to get back on track. So here we are.
Yet, it's a cruel irony that just when we all want to start eating fresh veggies and salads, we're stuck in the depths of winter. It's really freaking cold outside. And it's raining. Again. I want comfort food - a big bowl of something starchy and cheesy.
This soup is a great compromise. It's full of nutritious and healthy ingredients, but you get juuuuuust a little indulgence from the melted Gruyere topping. Kind of a healthy take on French onion soup going on here. This soup is packed with veggies: onions, celery, carrots, and cauliflower. And the lentils give you that starchy carb-y feel, but they are full of protein, fiber, and iron. The finishing touch of broiling the gruyere really makes this soup. The creamy, salty cheese pairs really well with the earthy vegetables, and I couldn't get enough. We enjoyed this for dinner, then I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day. It was a big hit all-around, and a soup I'll definitely make again when I want something healthy but am craving something sinful.
Lentil & Cauliflower Soup with Gruyere
adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2013
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, minced, plus more for garnish
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup brown or French green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cored, trimmed, and cut into small florets (about 3-4 cups)
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Heat oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the cauliflower, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer just until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Taste the soup and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Divide the soup among 4 oven-proof ramekins or soup bowls, and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each one. Watching the soup VERY closely, broil until the cheese is melted, golden, and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes.
Garnish with additional thyme and serve immediately.