Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lentil Soup with Ground Beef & Brown Rice

A different healthy spin on already healthy lentil soup.  The earthy flavor of the ground beef makes this recipe, it wouldn't be the same with ground turkey. I used the 90/10 lean beef. 

1 lb. lean ground beef 
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
OR just use 1 bag of mirepoix mix!

1 Tbs minced garlic 
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper

4c low sodium beef broth
2c low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water, more as needed
3/4 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup brown rice (I used instant)
salt/pepper to taste


  1. Heat 1 Tbs. canola oil (or a few sprays) in a soup pot. 
  2. On medium high heat, add ground beef and cook until meat is well browned. 
  3. Add onions, celery and carrots, sauté 5-6 minutes, until vegetables start to soften. 
  4. Add tomato paste, garlic, dried thyme, ground cumin, salt/pepper and dried parsley and sauté 1-2 minutes more - you want the tomato paste to start to brown but not burn, watch it!
  5. Add 2c water and stir brown bits off the bottom.
  6. Add beef stock, chicken stock, and lentils to pot and cook at a low simmer about 40-50 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Taste soup and decide whether to add extra water if it's too strong, or to ensure there is enough liquid for making the rice. 
  7. Add brown rice and continue to simmer soup based on the rice directions (instant is 5 mins, traditional is 35 mins). 
  8. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Drizzle with balsamic before serving, if desired. I didn't think it needed it!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Loin

If it doesn't taste good, I don't care how "good for me" it is. This is a healthy marinade that make amazingly tender, juicy, flavorful pork that can be served solo or as a loose meat sandwich - think French Dip sandwiches, with roasted pork.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Loin

3lb-ish pork tenderloin or roast
Salt and pepper or Montreal Steak Seasoning

1 cup chicken broth 
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Place pork tenderloin into the slow cooker, sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, or steak seasoning.  
  2. In a bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over pork and set the timer for your slow cooker. (Loin = 4 hours High, 6 hours Low. Roast = 6-8 hours Low).
  3. Once pork is cooked, use two forks to break it apart lightly into hunks and let sit in broth until you serve.
I made mashed cauliflower and sautéed mushrooms to serve with mine. You could pair with mashed potatoes and another vegetable. Or, it would be great served like a French Dip on crusty, butter toasted rolls or as sliders for a party!