Congratulatons to Lahav Ardi, a 9-year-old from Salt Lake City, who is the Utah winner in The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a national competition sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and Epicurious.
Ardi, who submitted a recipe for lentil vegetable soup (see it below), is one of 54 national winners who will travel to Washington D.C. to attend a “State Dinner” at the White House on Aug. 20. The group will join Mrs. Obama for a healthy lunch where the menu will feature a selection of the winning recipes, followed by a tour of the White House kitchen garden. The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge received more than 1,200 entries for nutritious lunches.
In his essay, Ardi said he first made the soup about three years ago when his mom was sick.
“I told mom to ‘lay down and rest, I’ll make lunch,’” he wrote. “I convinced her I could do it, made this soup, and she felt better that night. Now, when someone is sick, we make this soup. I have even taken it over to my grandma and grandpa when they were sick, especially the chicken-broth version.”
For the contest, Ardi chose to make the vegetable version “ because it is healthier, my mom’s best friend is vegetarian, and I have friends at school that are vegetarian that would like it.”
Lahav’s lentil vegetable soup
6 cups vegetable broth (optional: add a 7th cup, if needed)*
1/2 cup each red and green lentils
1/3 cup barley
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery hearts with the leaves, finely chopped
4 small red potatoes or 2 small regular potatoes cut into 1/2- inch cubes
1 cup sliced fresh carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
11/2 tablespoon parsley
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 teaspoon sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the broth into an 8 quart pot over medium heat. Add lentils and barley to begin cooking. Cut your carrots and potatoes and add them to the broth along with the spices and frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook until lentils and barley are tender. If soup is too thick, you may opt to add another cup of broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Total cooking time is about an hour.
Serve this soup with multi-grain bread with gouda and mozzarella melted on top, or as a side dish served with mixed berries and kiwi.
* Chicken broth may be used instead of vegetable broth; also, consider adding two small chicken breasts (about a half pound) cut into 1 inch cubes.
Servings • 6 to 7
Source: Lahav Ardi, Salt Lake City winner of The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge