Not long ago, I picked up two cups of dehydrated soup. They were black bean and quite easy– you added hot water and let it sit for a while and/or microwaved it for a few minutes. Very convenient, and they were delicious if overly salty. I decided that black beans are not that expensive and I could figure out how to DIY my own shelf-stable instant soup.

First, I did some googling. Apparently, backpackers and hunters are the sort of people who think about how to parcook beans and make them non-perishable. It’s possible, but reports seemed to indicate that you really had to cook them again for about 10 minutes. Not quite what I’m looking for. A little musing, and I stumbled over the thought that lentils probably would not need to be cooked nearly that long, and would be easier to dehydrate down in the oven. Voila! Instant lentil soup adventure begins.

Lentil Soup, Instant

200 g brown lentils, soaked for 8+ hours
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 bay leaf
1 oz dehydrated vegetables
1 T dehydrated onion
1 t minced dried garlic

Drain the lentils, add fresh water to cover plus about an inch, and simmer with the bay, thyme and sage until cooked (about 25 minutes). Remove the bay leaf. Spread the lentils on a non-stick cookie sheet, removing the bay leaf, and bake in a warm oven (about 200 F), stirring occasionally, until they are crunchy. I baked mine for something like 4 hours, as they weren’t done after 1 hour and then I semi-forgot about them. 2 or 3 hours might suffice. Add the dehydrated vegetables, onion, and garlic.

For the safest storage, seal in a jar and keep in the fridge or freezer. They may or may not be fully non-perishable, and it’s difficult to judge that without experience. The drier and crisper they are, the more likely to be shelf-stable. The texture is somewhat different, but I still find it to pleasant.

To serve, soak in hot water (1 cup for every 1/3 cup soup mix) for about 5 minutes, then microwave for 2-3 minutes. This is when I add salt and pepper, if desired. You can add additional vegetables before microwaving, if desired.

Linked to: Real Food Wednesday