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Easy Lentil Soup
This soup can be made with any of three different consistencies. Try them all to see which you prefer.
Ingredients:
1 cup green lentils
36 oz. fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 leek, trimmed and chopped*
2 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves*
Canola oil spray
1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 large pretzels, broken into small pieces,
   for garnish (optional)


Instructions:
1. Place lentils, broth, carrot, garlic, onion, thyme and bay leaf in a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

2. *For a chunkier soup, add leek at this point. Simmer 20 minutes, then stir in Swiss chard and simmer 20 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, spray a medium non-stick skillet with canola oil and heat oil on medium-high heat. Add apple and sauté until golden on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.

4. When lentils are tender, stir in apple and remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as is for a soup with texture. For a creamy soup, purée half in a blender and combine with remaining soup. Serve garnished with crushed pretzels, if desired.


Nutritional Information:
Makes 4 servings.Per serving: 238 calories, 0 g. total fat, 42 g. carbohydrate, 15 g. protein, 10 g. dietary fiber, 747 mg. sodium.
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