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A Recipe for Busy Parents Thumbnail

A Recipe for Busy Parents

If you love good food and to take care of your family, but you are also busy, you are in the right place. This is a great, easy, cheap recipe that is nutritious and delicious. It comes courtesy of Deborah Madison, who used to run Green's in San Francisco, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Fort Mason, San Francisco. She now runs the farmer's market in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Lentil Minestrone

Madison, “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone,”

Note: Better when cooked ahead of time, but add the cooked pasta and greens just before serving.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery or celery root
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup French green lentils, sorted and soaked for 1 hour
  • Aromatics: 2 bay leaves, 8 parsley sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs
  • 9 cups water or basic vegetable stock
  • Freshly milled pepper
  • 1 bunch greens- mustard, broccoli rabe, chard, or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta shells, orecchiette, or other favorite shape
  • Thin shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, to finish

Heat the oil in a wide soup pot with onion. Sauté over high heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, parsley, garlic, vegetables, and salt, and cook 3 minutes more. Add the lentils, aromatics, and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Remove the aromatics.

Boil the greens in salted water until they’re tender and bright green, then chop them coarsely. Just before serving, add the greens and the pasta to the soup and heat through. Serve with olive oil drizzled into each bowl, a generous grind of pepper, and the cheese.