• 4 carrots, diced
  • 4-6 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup diced onion, leeks, or shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 potatoes, large diced
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon vegetable base (optional)
  • 1/2 cup carrot juice (optional)
  • 12 cups vegetable broth (more if you like more broth in your soup)
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked lentils or brown rice
  • 1/2 of the zest, and all of the juice of a small orange or a tangerine
  • Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Adapted from The Blue Zones Challenge, by Dan Buettner
Serves 12

Over medium-high heat a large soup pot. Add the onions and let them caramelize (turn light golden), adding a bit of broth or water to prevent burning. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Stir and cook another 3-5 minutes, adding a bit of broth to prevent burning.

Add all the remaining ingredients except the citrus and parsley to the pot. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for 45-50 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook another 15 minutes.

Finish by adding the citrus zest and juice, stirring to combine. Add the parsley. Enjoy with a whole grain crusty bread if you like.

Customize this soup as you like. You can replace the lentils and/or brown rice with tofu, cooked grains, or pasta toward the end of the cooking time. Peas or edamame are also good additions.