I grew up in hot, tourist-filled Florida – a place where the seasons are seamless and coat closets house mostly jean jackets. The vista out of my childhood bedroom window was static: Palm trees and dried grass in the winter, palm trees and even drier grass in the summer.
I’ve come to especially appreciate Illinois’ ever-changing landscape. The time of year not only governs the yard work required (plant, mow, rake, shovel … repeat) but also the foods I crave. When the temperatures fall, I turn to soup for a warm, hearty meal.
This lentil and quinoa soup is filling, flavorful and healthy – and, bonus, there’s only one pot to clean! Lentils are a great source of protein and have been linked to heart and digestive health, while quinoa is a high-fiber, high-protein solution for gluten-free eaters.
Lentil and Quinoa Soup With Turkey Meatballs
4 servings, main course
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free also available at most markets)
- 12 ounces lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2 cups baby spinach, julienned
- More Parmesan for garnish
1. Whisk egg and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs and let stand for 5 minutes. Add turkey, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to blend.
2. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1-inch diameter meatballs. Place on baking sheet; cover and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Pour chicken broth into a large pot, then add bay leaves, carrots, lentils and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered with lid ajar, for 10 minutes.
4. Add turkey meatballs to pot and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until cooked through. Lentils are done when tender and can easily be mashed with a fork. Quinoa is finished cooking when the grains have turned translucent and the spiral-like germ becomes visible.
5. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves and ladle soup into 4 bowls, adding 1/2 cup of spinach to each and topping with freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy while gazing out of your window at the beautiful fall colors.
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