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Red Lentil, Pepperoni, and Pasta Soup

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups red lentils

8 cups veggie or chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp Flying Olive EVOO. Suggestions: Garlic, Cilantro and Roasted Onion, Chipotle or Harissa for some heat (the pepperoni does add some heat), or a Flying Olive Single Varietal of Choice

1 large onion, diced

2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes with juice

1 (5-oz) pkg pepperoni. I use turkey pepperoni, cut into quarters

8 oz ditalini (small tubes) or similar short pasta (leftover, cooked pasta works great)

For garnish: chopped parsley, the used bay leaves, croutons, etc.

Directions:

In a sieve, rinse the lentils under cold water. Place the lentils, stock, and bay leaves in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 1-1 ½ hours until the lentils are soft. Remove the bay leaves and reserve if using for garnish. If desired, blend or process the soup and return it to the pot. (I find that sometimes the lentils are soft and have fallen apart without this step.)

Heat the Flying Olive EVOO of choice in a skillet. Sauté the onion until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add it to the soup along with the tomatoes. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water 1 minute less than the package directions (al dente). Drain and *(see note below) add the pasta. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and garnish with parsley, bay leaves, or croutons, if desired.

*If you are planning to freeze the soup, add the pasta when you reheat it.

Submitted by Barb L.