Curious for ideas on savory, non-sweet gifts you could make up easily? Consider this one…which can be presented as a plant-based, minimally processed and vegan friendly gift, always a bonus? I adapted a recipe I saw in the 2012 issue of Better Homes and Garden Food Gifts:
It is one of the thick “magazines” that are more like books, found in stores, near the checkouts or in the magazine aisle. I’d say it was worth the cost, of $10. What had gotten me to pick it up was for packaging ideas, of which it is stellar at. The recipes are well done as well. I did adapt it slightly, to reflect my taste in lentils (called for yellow lentils, I used French Green), varied the vegetables and used my handmade broth mix. I realize most people don’t have containers of dried veggies in their pantry, they should though! They last a long time, are handy in a pinch and in soups work the same as fresh. Buy in bulk and store in mason jars.
I call for a variety of dried vegetables in the recipe, you can of course cheat and use a pre-made mix of dried vegetables, I like making my own though (and I have plenty on hand after this past summers dehydration runs I did – of which I did a number of blog posts here and on my other blog) as the mixes often have way too much onion and parsley to bulk it up. Dried onions and Shiitake Mushrooms are both sold at Costco, onions with the spices, mushrooms are in the produce section.
Creamy Vegetable-Lentil Soup Dry Mix
- 3 Tbsp dried carrots
- 3 Tbsp dried green beans
- 3 Tbsp dried tomatoes, air-dried, preservative free (they will be crispy)
- 3Tbsp dried shiitake mushrooms, crumbled
- 2 Tbsp dried celery
- 2 Tbsp dried bell peppers
- 2 Tbsp dried onion
- ¼ cup broth mix
- 1½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp granulated garlic
- ¾ cup French Green Lentils
- 1½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, non-dairy creamer or dairy milk or half and half or undiluted evaporated milk (see below)
If you have bought dehydrated vegetables they are normally dice size. If you are drying your own vegetables, cut them into dice size or small pieces before drying.
Layer the vegetables in a clean 16 to 20 ounce jar, pressing down to pack.
Mix the broth through garlic, add to a snack size bag, seal tightly and lay on top of vegetables.
Sort the lentils to endure there is no field debris, pack in a sandwich bag, lay on top.
Seal jar, decorate as desired.
Include with jar, printed or written on a pretty card:
To Make Soup -
Remove lentils, rinse and drain. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan with 4 cups water.
Bring to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
Stir in milk or creamer, let heat through for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 1 gift/1 batch soup.
We made our soup mix up and used a 12-ounce can of fat-free evaporated milk. The soup is very thick, it would work well as a sauce over rice as well. Feel free to use 5 cups water at the start if you like it thin. I enjoyed how hearty it was!
PS: I’d consider gifting it with a quick bread or scone mix, also presented in a jar, for a nifty gift. I served our soup with Walnut-Rosemary Bread.