Here is another healthy make ahead freezer meal in a bowl from our garden! This recipe makes 8 generous quarts of hearty soup at very little cost with great nutritional benefits. If you don’t have a garden you can purchase fresh veggies at your local Farmers Market. Making the most of what’s grown locally in season benefits you and your family nutritionally and economically. Buying local also benefits the environment, farmers and the local economy. Let’s not overlook the fact that fresh also means great flavor.
This make ahead hearty soup can be used for lunch or dinner. Pull it out of the freezer and heat it up for a quick and filling nutritious meal on a cold wintry night served with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad, or pack it for lunch. At work we use a small crock pot to heat up homemade soups.
Years ago, we purchased a very large stock pot for making our own tofu (BTW, it turned out amazingly delicious!). I no longer make tofu from scratch, but this large stock pot has come in handy for making large batches of soup for the freezer.
In case you’ve been waiting with bated breath…here’s the recipe.
Barley Red Lentil Soup with Kale (makes 8 quarts)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cups chopped onions (I use a combination of red and yellow from our garden)
8 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
3 cups chopped celery
6 cups chopped carrots
4 cups chopped peeled tomatoes
3 – 4 cups seared stew meat (optional)
1 cup rinsed and drained pearled barley
1 cup rinsed and drained red lentils
5 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons sea salt
6 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups chopped kale (well-packed)
Heat oil in a large stock pot (10-12 qt). Add onions and garlic, stirring and sauteing on a medium flame. Cook them until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Mix in celery and carrots, sauteing an additional 5 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, barley, red lentils, bay leaves, sea salt, pepper, seared stew meat (if using) and stock. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for an hour.
Remove from heat and mix in fresh kale (chopped). Stir until wilted.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Let cool before packing to freeze.
Thinking ahead to the heartier meals we like in fall and winter, this is a convenient choice for those busy weekday dinners. You can choose to make it vegan or incorporate stew meat. What are your favorite healthy, hearty meals when you’re on the go?
Thanks for stopping by!