Who says vegetarian food has no flavour? My family enjoys vegetarian style meals several times a week and we love the rich healthy flavours. This soup features complementary legumes – the peas and lentils – and grains – the corn and rice. Together they form a complete vegetarian protein. You may use water but a quick vegetable stock will add much more flavour.

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

A splash of olive oil
A few stalks of thinly sliced celery
A few diced carrots
A thinly sliced head of fennel fronds removed, core sliced out
A handful of sliced button mushrooms
3 or 4 sliced garlic cloves
A cup of so of white wine
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
A few bay leaves
A sprinkle or two of Salt and Pepper
for the Soup
A coulpe of diced carrots
A couple of diced celery stalks
A couple of sliced onions
A splash of olive oil
1/2 cup or so of brown rice
1/2 cup or so of lentils
A cupful of fresh or frozen peas
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
A sprinkle or two of Salt and Pepper

Procedure

To make the broth, add the olive oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onions, carrots, fennel and mushrooms and saute until they start to colour a bit, about 15 minutes. The high heat will brighten and deepen their flavours. Add the garlic and saute for another few minutes. (Because garlic burns so quickly it’s always best to add it last.) Add the wine, herbs and enough water to submerge the vegetables by several inches, about 8 cups (2 L) or so. Season with salt and peppers. Summer until the broth is infused with the flavours of the vegetables, about 30 minutes. Strain and use immediately, refrigerate or freeze.

For the soup, saute the carrots, celery and onions with a bit of olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Cover until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, rice and lentils. Bring the works to a simmer and continue cooking until the rice and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, sir in the corn, peas an parsley. Cook just long enough to heat them through; that way they’ll keep their bright colour and fresh flavours. Taste the soup and season as needed with a touch more salt and pepper.