Monday, June 28, 2010

Mediterranean Lentil Soup with Pesto

picture of Mediterranean Lentil Soup with Pesto
Submitted by Megan Duke, the author of Down Home Vegan and the winner of the Upton's Naturals-sponsored Iron Chef Seitan contest in Minneapolis benefiting Animal Rights Coalition .

(Photo courtesy of bettyminx)

serves 8-10

  • oil for deepish frying (vegetable)
  • 2 packages Upton's Naturals Italian Seitan (divided)
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small or 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes with roasted garlic (Muir Glen)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
  • 3 C red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 quarts Not Chick'n chicken stock
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. In a dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil. When superhot, crumble in the first package of seitan. After browning for about a minute, throw in the fresh basil. 
  2. When sausage is brown, remove with a slotted spoon and put on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Rinse out the pan, and dry. Heat the olive oil over low heat. Add onions, and cook and stir until softened but not browned.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, taste for salt, and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils turn yellow and soft.
  5. While the soup is cooking, make your pesto.
  6. When the soup is done and cooled slightly, immersion blend until smooth or add to a blender in batches.
  7. Stir in the other package of seitan crumbles.
  8. Serve in bowls with a swirl of pesto and crispy sausage and basil bits on top with little baguette rounds.

Pesto Ingredients:
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/3 C walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional; I used it to get that rotten-cheezy flavor)
  • 1/4-1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Pesto Directions:
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the oil and salt and process, scraping down the sides. 
  2. While it's going, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream until it gets creamy. You don't want it too* stiff, because you'll be swirling it into the soup.
  3. Salt to taste.