Slow Cooker Lentil Chili

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

One of my favorite things about cool weather is being able to use my slow cooker to prepare different kinds of soup. It’s such an easy, low-maintenance way to make a ton of food to get me through the week. Usually by this time of year I’m getting burned out on soup and the weather is warm enough that eating hot soup doesn’t sound very appealing, but this has been a cool spring and I’m not sick of soup yet, so it’s staying on the menu for at least a little while longer.

A few weeks ago I went for a very cold, windy hike and was absolutely drenched with rain by the time I got back to the car. It was so great come home to a hot shower and a bowl of this lentil chili! This soup has great flavor from all the vegetables and spices and it’s pretty healthy while still fitting into the ‘comfort food’ category. Depending on what you use as toppings, this chili could easily be gluten-free and vegan. As written, this recipe makes a huge batch, if you don’t need quite so much you can definitely cut all the ingredients in half, or just freeze some soup for another day.

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth*
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes (with juices)
  • 2 15 oz. cans small red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16 oz. bag brown lentils, rinsed
  • 2-3 tbl. chili powder
  • 1 tbl. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for at least 8 hours. Check the lentils for doneness then continue cooking if necessary. Once finished, garnish with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!

* I added an extra splash of broth to the leftover soup when I re-heated it.

Makes: About 10 servings
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Cauliflower Lentil Soup

Cauliflower Lentil Soup ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

One of my goals this year is to start cooking with ingredients I haven’t used in the past. I’ve only eaten lentils a few times before, and I’ve never cooked with them, so I was excited to try them out. All the other ingredients in this soup are things I use frequently, so I thought this would be a good place to test the lentils.

The verdict? I didn’t love the lentils’ texture, but I certainly didn’t mind them and the flavor in the soup was great, it’s definitely one I’ll make again. Plus there is broiled cheese on top, and that’s always a good thing.

In addition to trying out new ingredients, my other goal is to survive this crazy cold winter we’re stuck in. A hot bowl of soup will definitely help accomplish that!

Cauliflower Lentil Soup


  • 2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. Gruyere, or other cheese of choice, shredded
  1. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and broth, bring to a boil then cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the cauliflower and simmer for about 3 minutes until the cauliflower is beginning to soften. Remove the thyme, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the soup between 4 oven-safe ramekins or soup bowls. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the soup, then place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with additional thyme.
Makes: 4 servings
Source: Martha Stewart

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

It really doesn’t get much easier than this soup. This recipe is perfect for those nights when you don’t have much energy and just want to make something quick. The tortellini makes the soup hearty and filling and it’s also pretty healthy since it is broth based and full of fresh vegetables.

Tortellini Soup


  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 
  • 9-10 oz. tortellini, any variety (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two until fragrant.
  2. Add the oregano, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add the tortellini. Cook according to the directions listed on the package. One minute before the tortellini is done, add the spinach. Continue cooking until the tortellini is done then salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Makes: About 4 servings
Adapted from The Well-Fed Newlywed

Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Chili ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

We had an absolutely beautiful weekend here. It was pretty cloudy for most of the winter, but this weekend the sun came out and we had clear skies. Since my knee surgery in January, Boomer and I haven’t been able to spend quite as much time outside as we normally do. I’m finally able to be more active though, so Boom and I made sure to get out to enjoy the sun as much as we could.

scenes from our weekend

scenes from our weekend

In addition to several long walks with Boom, I also got to spend some time in the kitchen experimenting with a few new recipes including this Black Bean Chili. I loved this soup with some creamy avocado on top, but it would also be great with cheddar cheese or sour cream.

Black Bean Chili


  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (including juices)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from chipotle pepper can)
  • 3 cups low-salt vegetable broth
  • 3 (15 oz. each) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen corn kernels (no need to defrost)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender and light brown, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin and oregano and cook for 30 seconds then add the minced garlic. Cook for another minute then add the bay leaves and the can of diced tomatoes and juices. Stir in the tomato paste, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves.
  2. Add the black beans and corn to the chili and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, or avocado as desired. Enjoy!

Makes: About 8 servings

Adapted from Cookin’ Canuck

Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

A few weeks ago I had surgery on my knee to repair some soft tissue damage. The weekend before the surgery I made a few batches of soup so I’d have some easy meals for the first few weeks post-surgery when I might not feel like spending time standing in the kitchen. I did a batch of the spicy black bean soup, which has quickly turned into one of my favorites and decided I also wanted to try out something new. While I’m normally rather neutral towards cauliflower, I unexpectedly loved the creamy cauliflower soup I made last winter and I ended up really enjoying this one too. The roasted garlic and fresh herbs give this soup a wonderful flavor and it manages to be thick and creamy without any cream or butter. I finished off my last container of frozen soup tonight and I’m wishing I had made a double batch of this one!

Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup


  • 1 ( 1 1/2 lbs.) head of cauliflower
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbl. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower, garlic cloves and olive oil until the cauliflower is well coated. Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower is lightly browned. Separate the roasted garlic and chop the cloves. Set the garlic and cauliflower aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, cauliflower, vegetable broth, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the soup until you reach the desired consistency  I like to blend about half the soup so there is still some texture from the vegetables. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with some chopped vegetables or shredded cheese.

Makes: 4-6

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup ~ Annie's Cooking Lab

You’d think I would have learned my lesson the last time I made soup that had Rotel tomatoes and chilies in it and I used a version that was waaay to hot for me. But, no, I didn’t learn and I ended up with another batch of soup that was on the very edge of my spice tolerance. With the addition of enough cheese I was able to make the first batch edible. The second time around I toned down the chipotle peppers and used a milder version of the Rotel and really enjoyed the soup. If you’re trying to find some healthier recipes to start off the new year, this would be a great soup to try.

Spicy Black Bean Soup


  • 2 tbl. olive oil
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 chipotle pepper(s) in adobo sauce, chopped (you can find this in the Mexican aisle in your grocery store)
  • 2 cups corn, thawed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Rotel
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the red pepper, garlic, chipotle pepper and corn and cook for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, black beans, and Rotel. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to let the soup simmer for at least 10 minutes. Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the soup until you reach the desired consistency  I like to blend most of it but to leave some bigger pieces of vegetable for texture. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Top with cheese, sour cream, green onions or red peppers as desired.
Makes: About 4-5 servings
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I had incredibly lazy Saturday, but I made up for it yesterday with a run around the local lake, a walk and bath for Boomer and of course some cooking! I originally planned to make lasagna, but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided I needed a grilled cheese sandwich in my life and you can’t eat a grilled cheese without tomato soup right?

This soup comes together so quickly and it tastes absolutely delicious. I had a bowl fresh off the stove yesterday for dinner and re-heated some for dinner tonight after a Zumba class. This is one of those recipes where everything is simple- the ingredients are basic and it doesn’t take much time or effort to make, but the end result is perfect. The soup is thick and creamy and the fresh basil adds some wonderful flavor. Check back later this week for the grilled cheese sandwich recipe I served with the soup (it involves caramelized onions- yum!)

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups tomato juice
  • 2.5 oz. basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup half-and-half (use cream for a richer soup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute until the onion is softened. Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato juice. Simmer for 30 minutes then blend, if desired, to create a smooth texture*. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the basil and half-and-half. Heat until the soup is warm then salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

*I usually like to blend about half of the soup, this gives it a relatively smooth consistency with some pieces of tomato and onion for texture.

Makes: About 6 servings

Corn and Potato Chowder

Boomer and I have been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful fall weather over the last several weeks. We’ve explored a few of the lakes and hiking trails around here and Boom has loved all the outdoor activity. Last weekend after we finished hiking around a lake I made a big batch of this corn and potato chowder. The soup is creamy and filling and re-heats wonderfully for a few quick weeknight meals.

Corn and Potato Chowder


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbl. butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used fat free)
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups frozen corn (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 4 oz. cheese, shredded (I used 2 oz. white cheddar, 2 oz. pepper jack)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt the butter then add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the vegetable stock until smooth, then add the potatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Add the corn, half and half, and cheese. Cook for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes: About 6 servings
Adapted from Food Network

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Hands down, the thing I look forward to most in the fall is that I can start eating soup again. On the very first cool day I made a batch of Baked Potato Soup, and even though the weather warmed right back up, I still enjoyed all the leftovers. I’m really pleased with how this creamy, flavorful Broccoli Cheddar Soup turned out, it will definitely be joining the list of soups I make on a regular basis all winter!

If you prefer your soup on the chunky side, you can skip blending the soup. If you go that route, I’d recommend cutting your broccoli into fairly small pieces. I pureed about 3/4 of the soup so that most of it would be smooth but would still have some larger pieces of veggies.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup


  • 2 tbl. butter
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbl. butter
  • 4 tbl. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  1. In a large pot, melt 2 tbl. of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender. Add the carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the broccoli, vegetable broth, onion salt and garlic powder. Heat until the mixture boils, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the cheese sauce.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbl. butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes until golden brown, stirring constantly. Slowly add the milk and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and bubbly then stir in the cheese. Once the cheese is fully melted, pour the cheese sauce into the soup.
  3. Simmer until the broccoli is tender then season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend the soup if desired then serve. Enjoy!
Makes: About 4 servings
Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Tortilla Soup

Whenever I have a busy week coming up, I always make a big batch of soup on Sunday evening. Soup re-heats really well and that way I have delicious, healthy meals all week without having to put much thought or time into it. One problem I have with a lot of broth based soups is they aren’t very filling, but this Tortilla Soup is full of beans and vegetables so that isn’t an issue here.

The first time I made this recipe I used the original variety of Ro-Tel which turned out too spicy for me, but I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spice tolerance. The next time around I used the mild variety and that was the perfect amount of heat for me. Feel free to use the original, or even the hot variety if you’re brave! If your batch turns out spicier than you’d like, try mixing some sour cream or plain Greek yogurt into it, that’ll help cut down the heat.

Tortilla Soup


  • 2 cans (10 oz. each) Ro-Tel
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn (15 oz.), drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 packet (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning
  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  1. Add the Ro-Tel, black beans, kidney beans, corn, onion, broth and taco seasoning to a crockpot and stir to combine. Cook over high heat for 5 hours, or low heat for 8 hours.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese. Enjoy!
Makes: About 6 servings
Adapted from Miller Musings