According to my late Grandmom, it is Italian tradition to make lentil soup on New Year’s Day for good fortune. The lentils represent little coins. Here’s her recipe.
Grandmom’s Lentil Soup
2 cups (one pkg.) Jack Rabbit or Goya Lentils
2 small whole onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 ribs celery and leaves from inner ribs, chopped fine
8-ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 bay leaf
3-5 qts. cold water (depending on how soupy you like your soup)
8 oz small pasta – pastina, tubetini, or small elbows – cooked al dente before adding to the soup
salt to taste (after cooking)
Pick over lentils, wash and drain. Place in large soup pot with all of the above ingredients. Simmer until lentils are tender (one hour). When finished, add pasta, then salt to taste.
It’s a very simple soup, but very comforting.
To make this gluten-free, I use rice pasta instead of the regular pasta. I also like to DOUBLE the amount of carrots, celery, garlic and onion. I use 3 qts of water because I like a thicker soup. I also added some organic tuscan kale (leafy part – ribs discarded) in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. The kale adds the health benefits of dark, leafy greens. Another option would be to add escarole right at the end. I find this needs lots of salt because it is made mostly with water, not broth or stock. I salt when serving or reheating. I could’ve used the pressure cooker for this, but I decided to cook it on the stovetop, the way my Grandmom always did.
Happy New Year!