Lentil Vegetable Soup

vegetarian lentil soup

Lentils are commonly available and as we all know they are high in protein and nutritious. For this recipe, I brought the lentils from our regular store and not the Indian store. While writing this I realized that maybe the brown lentil is same as brown Masoor Daal that is available in the Indian store. I searched over the internet, but haven’t come to a strong conclusion yet. So any input from the reader to confirm either way would be appreciated. 

Truth be told that I do not make soups too often during summers, as I feel that they are relished best during winters. But of course, there are exceptions and I had to make this for the Light lunch Event. For a light, hearty lunch I prefer soup that has lots of vegetables, pulses, lentils etc with different textures. For example the Bean barley Soup, Garden vegetable soup are all big time favorites. After seeing the post by Jaya on Lentil Soup, I remember trying it at the Corner Bakery and falling in love with it. But I had not ventured trying it at home until now.

vegan lentil soup
There are so many ways of making this Hearty and Healthy Lentil soup. I think, I must have looked through half a dozen websites, before coming up with this version. This variation is based on the ingredients available in my pantry and also based on my family’s needs and taste. This soup is incredibly easy to make, so don’t be bothered by the long list of ingredients. The choice of vegetables and herbs can be changed as per individual taste and preference.


  • ¾ – 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic pods  peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 small potato peeled & chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 big carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • oil


  • Heat water in big pot and then transfer the lentils to it. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Toward the end add some salt and keep aside, but do not discard the boiled water.
  • Take another big pot and heat oil. Add the bay leaves, crushed garlic and sauté. Next add the onion and mix until lightly cooked. Add the ginger, chopped celery, carrots, potatoes, spinach and stir and cook. Add little bit more oil if required.
  • Next add the diced tomatoes and stir. Add the vegetable broth and continue to cook. After it has incorporated add the cooked lentils, black pepper, salt, thyme and basil.
  • Cook simmering for 30-40 minutes or until desired consistency is obtained. Serve hot along with bread.


lentil vegetable soup


Winner of the Giveaway

Last but not the least, I would like to end this post by announcing the winner of the Taste of Home Cookbook giveaway. I used random number generator, and picked a random number based on the number of comments. I am thrilled to announce that the winner is Jyothi. Congratulations! I will contact you soon via email. Thanks to all who participated and provided such wonderful ideas for light lunches, I really appreciate it.

Garden Pasta Salad

garden pasta salad

Don’t we all look for light healthy food options?  I do and I look for low fat, healthy, vegetarian lunch ideas all the time and that is the idea behind the Light lunch Event. Throughout the month of June I will be posting recipes of salads, sandwiches, rice, breads etc food that not only looks good, but tastes good too and which is easy on the stomach. 

Also head over to Jaya’s space as she is joining me in this Light Lunches event and check out her lunch ideas as well.

I make this Pasta Salad pretty often at home. With vegetables like celery, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper and onions all tossed in, this is a super healthy, great tasting and low calorie salad. It is lightly dressed with just vinegar and pepper powder. Of course, you can add any dressing of choice if you do not like vinegar. 

Frankly it has taken me years to the get the acquired taste of eating salads and developing a love for them. About 6-8 years ago I wouldn’t have imagined eating salad as snack let alone as lunch. It is a 180 turn but now I love them and would not mind surviving on them. 

Aren’t those grape tomatoes so cute? They form wonderful addition to salads and I could snack on them all the time. 

Note that you can use any vegetable of choice that you prefer. Almost everywhere Garden pasta salads contain olives, but I am not too fond of olives; hence I do not use it in my salad. But if you like them, then please go for it. 

Also I do not like my salads cold even during hot summers; I prefer it to be at room temperature, but I like to gulp this salad down with fresh juice or smoothies.


  • ¼- ½  cup uncooked pasta (any shape will do) [I used whole wheat one]
  • ¼  cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup cooked broccoli
  • 1 stalk celery (cleaned & chopped)
  • ½  cup bell pepper (chopped)
  • ½  cup cucumber (peeled & chopped)
  • Handful of grape tomatoes (chopped) [use regular tomatoes]
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar or (use any dressing like  Italian-style salad dressing)
  • ¼ cup olives (optional)
  • ¼ cup almonds (sliced)
  • ½  cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ½ cup Lettuce/spinach/any greens/ basil
  • pepper powder (per taste)
  • oil


  • Take a pot and boil water in it. Add the uncooked pasta, salt, little oil and cook until al dente. Rinse under cold water so that it does not stick and drain water completely.
  • Take a big bowl and mix chopped celery, olives, broccoli, cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion together.
  • Add the cooked pasta to this and mix again. Pour vinegar, crushed pepper over mixture
  • Add Parmesan cheese, sliced almonds to this before serving.  

Finally, do not forget to leave your comment on the Event page (if you have not done so) for a chance to win that cool Taste of Home cookbook. The event ends on June 20th and there are only 4 days left.

Guacamole Sandwich Flats

Call them thin buns, sandwich thins, slim sandwich bread, sandwich flats they are the same, just names that companies come up with to market their brands. If you have not seen them, then think of the regular old chubby buns minus the extra trimmings and you have a thin sandwich bun. I like the name Sandwich Flats the best and refer to them that way. They are thin yet hearty just 100 calories each and perfect for a light lunch as sandwich or even a quick snack.

I like to have this as sandwich with layer of Guacamole. Guacamole is an avocado-based dip which is very popular here in the US. It is creamy, healthy and delicious. It has to be used immediately; otherwise it tends to oxidize pretty fast. 

How to keep the guacamole from getting brown? (Found some useful information on the net) 

  • Putting the avocado pits back into the dip and keeps it from getting brown for several days.
  • Squeeze good amount of Lemon juice and the acid part prevents it from getting brown easily.
  • Simply cover the dip bowl with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap completely covers the surface of the guacamole.

Ingredients for the Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic pods (peeled)
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 green chilli/jalapeno (optional)
  •  salt
  • 1 Tbsp oil


  • Cut the avocados and remove the seeds. (You can see an online link here with pictures) Take a spoon and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Mash it gently using a fork.
  • Using a chopper (I use this chopper here ) pulse garlic, green chilli, salt (except onions) together. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and oil. 
  • Add the mashed avocado and pulse again. Transfer it to a bowl. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, little more lemon juice.
  • Note: We do not like our guacamole chunky and do not like big bits of avocado.
  • Cover the bowl well so that it is air tight. 


At work, I usually keep a bag of this sandwich bread handy. Depending on my mood for lunch for that day, I get a tomato and guacamole. Of course, storing guacamole is a problem as it oxidizes pretty fast. I usually get a small amount of it in an air tight plastic box and transfer it to the fridge at work that way it does not brown as much. Assembling the sandwich is a breeze and I usually down this with some yogurt and or chips. 

Now if you do not prefer the Guacamole then you can add anything you like on the sandwich, Mustard-ketchup, hummus, pepper relish, cream cheese or even some coriander chutney etc and the list is endless.

Again this is a guideline and not much of a recipe; you can customize this depending on your taste. You can use regular bread (toasted), regular bun, pita bread, and wraps instead of the thin sandwich that I have used here. And use the toppings/veggies depending on taste.

Ingredients for the sandwich

  • 2 sandwich flats
  • 1 big tomato (cut in circles)
  • 3-4 big onion rings
  • 2-3 cucumber circles (optional)
  • 2-4 big spinach leaves (replace with lettuce)
  • 1 tsp crushed pepper
  •  Guacamole (see above)
  • 2 cheese slices (any cheese will do)

How to Assemble 

  • Open up the sandwich flats. On the inside of one half of the sandwich, slather the prepared guacamole evenly with a knife/spoon.
  • On the other sandwich half , first place a cheese slice at the bottom, top it with spinach leaves, tomato slice, onion ring and then top it off with the guacamole slathered top.
  • Repeat the same with another sandwich. Eat with some yogurt and chips.