French Lentil & Mushroom Soup with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Brussels Sprouts

DSC_0056 (1).jpg

It's finally beginning to feel like Fall in Philadelphia. There is a slight crisp to the air, the leaves are falling, and the days are getting shorter. To me, Fall = soup, and lots of it. I love soup. Soup is warming, filling, grounding... it's just cozy. It comes together quickly, is pretty much foolproof, and it usually comes with crusty bread. Say no more.

The only problem I have with soup is that I want all of them. So, this recipe is a kitchen-sink combination of a few of my favorites: a rich and earthy mushroom soup, a twist on the classic French Onion soup, and a hearty, thick French Lentil soup. Oh, and I love brussels sprouts, so I figured that a crispy sprout topping was in order. Why not, right? Meet the most incredible soup of all time:

French Lentil & Mushroom Soup with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4-6 // Vegan, Gluten-Free

(Remember: soups allow you the freedom to switch things up! Want more/less of something? Do it! Don't have mirin? Don't worry about it! Hate brussels sprouts? Sub kale or just omit! Do you!)

(Remember: soups allow you the freedom to switch things up! Want more/less of something? Do it! Don't have mirin? Don't worry about it! Hate brussels sprouts? Sub kale or just omit! Do you!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups French Lentils (other lentils work fine, these just tend to hold their shape better)
  • 4 Cups Mushrooms, chopped (try to use a variety)
  • 2 Yellow Onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 Stalk Celery, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 Fennel Bulb, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Mirin
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 Cups Organic Vegetable Broth (you can also use 4 Cups Broth + 2 Cups Filtered Water)
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • Sea or Pink Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • Crispy Brussels Sprouts: Handful Brussels Sprouts, Canola Oil

Method:

  1. Place a skillet over medium heat (cast iron if you have it!), and add olive oil.
  2. Add onions to skillet and toss to coat in oil. Saute, stirring occasionally. Deglaze pan with apple cider vinegar, if needed (if pan becomes too dry). Cook until onions are soft and golden, approximately 20+ minutes.
  3. As your onions are caramelizing, chop your veggies!
  4. Add veggies, garlic, and mirin to skillet. Stir to combine, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper to skillet. Continue to saute and stir until mushrooms are slightly browned (about 5 more minutes).
  6. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable broth and lentils.
  7. Bring pot to a boil, add skillet mixture, and reduce to medium-low heat.
  8. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender (approximately 15-30 minutes).
  9. If the soup becomes too thick, simply add more vegetable broth or water. If a thicker soup is preferred, puree briefly with a handheld mixer to thicken base.
  10. To make the crispy brussels sprouts, cut the stems from the ends of the sprouts and peel off the outer leaves (this is what you will be crisping!). Discard the hearts. Pour canola oil into a small skillet (enough to cover the leaves), and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, toss in the leaves. Be careful! Make sure your brussels aren't wet! Fry for about 30 seconds until leaves are crispy around the edges. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with sea or pink salt. If you're not into the fried thing, you can make these in the oven: toss leaves in coconut or olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 until crispy, about 30+ minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea or pink salt.

Get cozy and serve with crusty bread.