This is such a perfect comfort food for the winter. I modified the recipe from The Food Network by using lentils instead of a bean mix, quinoa instead of barley, increased the veggies, and used WAY less salt. This recipe is pretty flexible if you want use a different grain/bean combination.
Sprinkle with some parmesan and add a salad to make it complete meal.
Slow-Cooker Quinoa Lentil Soup
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup uncooked lentils
4 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled if large, optional
14-oz can stewed tomatoes
3 cups baby spinach
1. Put 6 cups water, the lentils, beans, quinoa, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, salt, herb blend, some pepper and porcini mushrooms (if using) in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down, and add with their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours.
2. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with cheese if desired!
Nutrition: 170 Calories, 1 g Fat, 32 g Carbohydrates, 9 grams protein