Lentil Soup with Balsamic-Roasted Winter Vegetables

Submitted by: Courtney

I left out the sweet potato and used zucchini, which I love, to make it less starchy for myself, but I am sure you could use any veggies you have on hand.  The flavor of this dish improves on the second day, so it's ideal to make in advance. Add the chard just before serving to preserve its color. Stir in a little water when you reheat the soup if it's too thick.

1 2/3 cups cubed peeled sweet potato, (about 8 ounces)
1 2/3 cups cubed peeled parsnip (about 8 ounces)
1 2/3 cups cubed peeled carrot (about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
1 cup chopped shallots (about 6 large)
1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 medium)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 cups dried lentils
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth, divided (you could just use water here)
8 cups Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 9 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and salt in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange vegetable mixture in a single layer on a large foil-lined jelly-roll pan; bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high cook shallots and onion in pan in a little water; cook 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, thyme, garlic, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add about 1/2 C water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add lentils and 4 cups broth (or water) to pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups broth/water and roasted vegetables to pan, and simmer 15 minutes, uncovered. Add chard, and cook 2 minutes or until wilted.

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