3/4 cup kinda-sorta-diced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste buds
1/2 green bell pepper
5 up button mushrooms, cut lengthwise like the canned kind
1/2 to 1 onion (I do whatever is left in the fridge and it always tastes good), cut up
1/2 teaspoon-ish of basil, oregano, and parsley (I don't measure my spices, so I'm saying
1/2 teaspoon+ is good)
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 cup or so of olive oil
15 ounce can of tomato sauce
4 cups of water
8 ounces of lentils (usually half a package)
1/2 teaspoon (sea) salt and 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt
couple of twists on the pepper grinder, or a dash or two if you have pre-ground
Cut up all the vegetables and put them in a bowl. When you are done, take a Dutch oven and pour the 1/8 cup (or slightly more, whatever coats the bottom) of olive oil into the pan. Turn on medium to medium high, and saute the carrots, celery, minced garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, basil, parsley, oregano, bay leaf, and pepper flakes. Yes, saute the spices too. When you begin to hear the vegetables sizzling, start a timer for five minutes. Stir the veggies occasionally, but now is a good time to clean up a bit.
When the five minutes are up, add the tomato sauce, water, lentils (only around that 8 ounce mark - I tried adding more and it was bleeeech! They didn't cook.), both salts, and the pepper.
Stir a bit, set a timer for an hour, and finish cleaning up. When it starts boiling, turn the temperature to low and stir it a bit to let the heat out. Come back once in a while to stir.
I don't like eating the same meals regularly, but I eat this soup once or twice a day and –still- crave it!