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Zen Center Morning, and another Grandma Memory: Vegetarian Lentil Soup

7:25 AM

Long before yoga and meditation were mainstream or even practised "on the fringe" (the 1980s to be exact), my Grandma was doing both of them.  "Stretch" classes and "resting" on the couch while sitting upright with eyes closed were what she called it.  While I couldn't be convinced to slow down  and participate back then, I could certainly be convinced to eat her lentil soup at lunchtime.  Usually with a half of some sort of sandwich. 

Then, while I was in college two of my professors strongly encouraged their students to have the experience of at least one day of meditation at our local Zen Center.  It was eye-opening, excruciating, amazing, and completely worth it. We had a silent lunch of lentil soup and salads punctuated by the sound of windchimes and a singing bowl.

And so, with an open heart, I'm presenting to you my Lentil Soup Recipe (I assure you, there is Zen in the chopping):

Vegetarian Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
        1  onion, finely chopped
3 ribs finely chopped celery
1 finely chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 pound  whole lentils rinsed
1(14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 quarts vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
Seasalt to taste

In a large skillet, saute together the onion, celery, and bell pepper with the olive oil.  When onions are translucent and fragrant, add the vegetables and the rest of the ingredients to a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Let simmer 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Serve and Enjoy!

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