We were cooped up in the house on a dreary, cold Sunday afternoon. My husband was in Europe on a business trip, and the kids were driving me nuts so out to lunch we went. They wanted McDonald’s of course. But I insisted on Panera because of the somewhat healthier menu choices (hmm rethinking that statement. That kids mac n’ cheese is ridiculously rich.) Anyway, my other motive for choosing Panera: the new broth bowls!
While the kids deconstructed their ham sandwiches and squirted their juice boxes at each other in between crawling under the table to play tag, I sat there completely occupied by my Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl. I was totally “that mom” with the crazy kids in public, but I didn’t even care. I could not put my spoon down. I’m telling you, the flavor in this soup is incredible. Well done, Panera!
While I licked the bowl clean, I confirmed that this would definitely go on my list of dishes to recreate. And here we are! A couple notes about this recreation:
- Panera’s version has also contains brown rice. I had no brown rice so the quinoa stands alone.
- The list of ingredients in this soup is impressive, extensive, and completely random. For example, Korean broth and molasses made the list -two ingredients I’d never think to pair together. I didn’t even come close to having all of the ingredients so I made up my own combo based on fridge staples.
- At Panera, you can order this dish with chicken or hard boiled eggs. I ordered the chicken, and it was a great choice. But for this recreation, I kept those ingredients as optional. There’s enough filling protein from the lentils and quinoa.
- For the soup base, I blended the tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic into a quick puree. By doing this, the veggies cook down quickly and they dissolve right into the broth, allowing the lentils and quinoa to shine.
- The lentils and quinoa cook together right in the broth. No need to pre-cook them!
This soup easily comes together for a hearty meal with some warm bread or alongside a salad. Box up the leftovers for a quick lunch on-the-go! I promise, while eating this soup, you will be utterly amazed at the flavor and completely unaware of anything going on around you!
- 1 onion, cut into large chunks
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
- 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 3 roma tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons Bouquet Garni herb blend (or ¼ tsp each of dried rosemary, thyme, and parsley)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- ½ cup uncooked lentils
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 6 cups water
- 3 cups roughly chopped kale
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 hard boiled eggs (optional)
- 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken (optional)
- Place the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and tomatoes in a food processor, blender, or Nutribullet. Blend until a puree forms.
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Once heated, add the vegetable puree. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the herbs. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the soy sauce, diced tomatoes, lentils, and quinoa. Stir to combine.
- Add the vegetable broth and water and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, give the lentils a taste. If they're still a little firm, let the soup simmer for a few more minutes until the lentils are tender.
- Uncover the pot and add the kale, spinach, and lemon juice. Stir until combined. Give the soup a taste and add salt, pepper, and/or additional lemon juice to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with a hard boiled egg and/or chicken, if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 191 Fat: 2.8g Carb: 31g Fiber: 9.3g Protein: 12.4g Sugar 6.6 g Sodium: 1162mg
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