Slow Cooker Spinach, Lentil & Tortellini Soup

22 Nov

 

This is one of my favorite soups to make.  I got the recipe from the Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes, a cookbook I bought when I first got my slow cooker a few years ago.  I was secretly wishing for spinach from Bountiful Baskets, and this week, that wish was fulfilled!  And it’s pretty chilly here today, so perfect weather for eating and making soup.  The original recipe calls for ham and for chicken broth, but I make it without the ham and you can switch to vegetable broth to make this a meatless meal!  I think it tastes great without the ham, but you may choose to add it in.  Mine also looks less soup-like in the picture above because I used a larger family size package of tortellini, because that’s what my girls like the most.

Slow Cooker Spinach, Lentil, and Tortellini Soup

1/2 cup dry lentils
2 cups coarsely shredded carrots (I used the julienne blades on my mandolin slicer)
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 ounces chopped cooked ham or Canadian style bacon, optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp snipped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp snipped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 9-oz pkg refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 bunch fresh spinach, slightly torn

1. Rinse lentils and drain. Place lentils in a slow cooker. Add the carrots, onion, ham or bacon (if using), garlic, dried basil and thyme (if using), and pepper. Pour broth and water over all.

2. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 6 1/2 – 7 hours or on high heat setting for 3 1/4 – 3 1/2 hours. If using the low heat setting, turn to high heat setting. Stir in tortellini. Cover and cook 30 minutes more. To serve, stir in spinach and, if using, the fresh basil and thyme.

I also like to put some shredded mozzarella cheese on my serving.

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