Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free….but most of all, a warm, hearty and seriously yummy winter comfort food dinner. I have good friends, who between them, have these food requirements. I love to have friends over for dinner, and these two really challenged my usual repertoire. Advice from a few gluten-free cookbooks and a search of recipes I usually make, resulted in this really wonderful combination!
The soup couldn’t be easier, and the corn bread is adapted from my cooking bible, The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
For the Lentil Soup:
- 2 quarts vegetable broth
- 2 cups water (to start–you will probably add more water later to adjust the thickness of the soup)
- 2 cups lentils, rinsed
- 1-16oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup rice (I used a wild rice mix. My original recipe calls for 1 cup barley–a product with gluten. If you can have gluten and prefer barley, by all means use that instead! I was also thinking quinoa might be yummy…)
- 2 cups chopped onion (1 large or 1 1/2 medium onions)
- 2 cups chopped celery (1 celery “heart”)
- 2 cups chopped carrots (4-5 carrots)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola.)
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
- 2 packages frozen chopped spinach, partially thawed.
NOTE: Check all packaged ingredients to be sure they are gluten-free.
Place everything EXCEPT the spinach in a large stock pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 50 minutes to an hour. Leave the spinach packages sit on the counter to start thawing.
After the 50-60 minutes, add the spinach.
Stir to combine, cover and continue to simmer until lentils are tender and rice (or barley) is cooked through; an additional 10-20 minutes. At this point, you can let the soup sit at a low simmer or in a crock pot until you’re ready to eat it. How easy-peasy is that?!
For the Corn bread:
- 1 cup rice flour blend (recipe below, after the slideshow)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 tsp powdered xanthan gum
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unflavored almond or soy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a 9x9x2″ pan with a vegetable shortening.
Stir rice flour blend, sugar, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum together in a medium bowl.
Add corn meal, stir to combine.
Add eggs, almond milk and grapeseed oil; stir until just smooth–do not over-beat, or your corn bread will be tough.
Pour batter into the pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes–until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cut into slices and serve with the Lentil Soup! Yummy!
I ended up adding an additional 4 cups of water to my soup, and it was still thick and hearty. The corn bread–my first attempt at making it gluten-free–turned out crispy on the top, with a light, tender texture inside. It was way yummy, and tasted just like corn bread with regular wheat flour!
This meal would be delicious with just the fam, but was extra yummy spiced with conversation, laughter and good friends. ❤
Rice Flour Blend:
- 2 cups white rice flour
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 1/3 cup tapioca flour
Mix all the ingredients thouroughly and store in an air-tight container.
All of these ingredients, and the xanthan gum, can be found at health food stores and larger supermarkets.