Lentils – yellow, red, green, brown and black – are favored by vegetarians all over the world, because they are a great source of protein, iron and minerals. The ancient Romans already knew the nutritious value of these beans and shipped them from Egypt. Lentils are still a basic staple in several Asian cuisines, and dishes like khichri or dal make full use of them. This inexpensive soup will warm your heart, and it definitely keeps the doctor away.
3-4 garlic cloves
2-4 dry chili peppers
2 sticks of celery
1 tbsp olive oil
2 dl green lentils
5 dl vegetable stock
2 tins (à 400 gr) canned tomatoes
100 gr pancetta or bacon (optional)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Slice the onion, celery and carrot and mince the garlic. Deseed the dry chilis. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the vegetables and the chili. Saute lightly for a few minutes. Add the rinsed green lentils, the vegetable stock and 2 tins of peeled canned tomatoes. Let the soup simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. If necessary, add water.
In a separate pan, fry the pancetta and zucchini lightly and add to the soup when the vegetables are nearly ready. Season with salt. Garnish each plate with freshly ground black pepper and serve with rustic rye bread.