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  • Melissa Orquiza

The Best Lentil Soup, Jon Favreau & Jenny Odell on How to Do Nothing

The Best Lentil Soup. Easy, healthy, and seriously, the best recipe I've encountered. Perfect when you need to practice "How to Do Nothing."

The Best Lentil Soup, Jon Favreau & Jenny Odell on How to Do Nothing

Originally Published Wed, April 6, 2022

On most Sundays, I try to ritualize the importance of the day with a lazy breakfast, snuggling with my daughter (so my husband can sleep in), reading books, video games, something homemade and an afternoon park adventure. Even when I was single, I tried to make sure some sort of languid Sunday with my boo (even if it was just 30 minutes), an anchor in an otherwise overstressed and overly committed artistic life. Last Sunday, however, something went horribly, terribly wrong. I decided to nap after playing with her for a few hours and slept until 5pm! My husband kept laughing and laughing and my daughter kept checking on me to make sure I was still alive. Upon reflection, I was physically and emotionally worn out, having to direct my attention to little things that, ultimately, are not worth my time. Here's to saving our enerygy.

I’ve always had a fraught relationship with social media. When my father’s health took a turn, I immediately realized its value when I was able to communicate with friends and family whom I’ve never met. Communicating with family I hadn’t seen in decades and reading messages from childhood friends, overrode the social anxiety I felt whenever opening any of my social media feeds. Apparently, it was all getting to be a bit too much and I needed a new equilibrium.

I’ve never really been the type to keep still for too long (not my jam). Here’s an interesting take on “How to Do Nothing” with Jon Favreau and Jenny Odell, the artist, writer, and best-selling author of the same book. I see the hilarity in using social media to try and reframe a new relationship with it. I’ve added some Pauline Oliveros, the pioneering electronic classical music composer due to the podcast's reference to “Deep Listening.” Whether or not you like it (I'll listen to anything to gleam something valuable), it is worth understanding the context. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! I hope this makes you laugh, smile, and hopefully approach the world in a new way (or at least help you solve whatever problems come your way). Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Best Lentil Soup. Seriously... this is a great standby recipe when you want something comforting, healthy, and easy.

Best Lentil Soup Here's the original link.


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, lightly drained

1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ to 1 medium lemon), to taste


1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.

2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.

4. Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

5. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid, and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup.)

6. Add the chopped greens and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. For spicier soup, add another pinch or two of red pepper flakes.

7. Serve while hot. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).

#bestlentilsoup, @cookie&kate, @jonfavreau, #offlinewithjonfavreau, @jennyodell, #howtodonothing, @paulineoliveros

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