Sorry I’m a few hours late with this. It’s been nuts around here this week. Anyway, here we go.
About 20 years ago, during one of my early forays into vegetarianism, I found a great little book called The Gradual Vegetarian by Lisa Tracy. It’s out of print now — or was the last time I checked, anyway — but if you can put your hands on a copy, do it, because it’s about as sensible an approach to the subject as anything you’re likely to read. As the name suggests, Tracy advocates easing into vegetarianism instead of trying to go vegan overnight or whatever. Hers is a three-stage approach that works very well, regardless of your ultimate dietary goals.
One of my favorite recipes from the book is lentil-mushroom soup. I have long since forgotten the proportions listed in the recipe (and you know I am too lazy to look them up), but soup is an inexact thing anyway, and as long as you end up with something earthy and hearty that tastes nice on a cold evening, you’re golden.
Medium onion, cut into little slivers
Sliced mushrooms (I think I used a pound)
About a cup of dried lentils
Chopped-up carrot (as much or as little as you like)
Saute the onion in olive oil until clear. Add mushrooms and saute lightly.
Throw the onions, mushrooms, lentils and carrots in the Crock-Pot. Add enough water to fill it up, turn on high, and ignore it overnight or all day or until the lentils are soft. Serve with soy sauce.
The mushrooms and lentils combine to produce a sturdy, beefy sort of flavor that’s particularly satisfying on a chilly day.