Soak dried lentils for an hour or two in ample water.
Send out an email to collect a bunch of cycling friends. Agree on start time and location. Lube your bike chain the night before and zero your bike computer, then get a good night’s sleep.
Mince 2 cloves of garlic and one medium onion. Cut up carrots and celery into circles. Saute’ all the veggies in olive oil in a soup pot. Take your time as this is what develops the flavor.
Mix up your favorite nuts and dried fruit into your own special trail mix. I like pecans, peanuts, raisins, and figs. Prepare a couple of water bottles with nice cold water and put them in your water bottle holders. Put your phone in your top tube box and add your back up battery and charge cord. Check your tires and add some air if needed. (They probably need it.) Get your cue sheet or get your directions set. Take your time as this is where the serenity of the day’s ride begins.
Drain the lentils, rinse them one more time in fresh water, and add them to the sautéed veggies. Crush up three or four Italian peeled tomatoes (canned are fine) with your hand and take out the hard part where they were attached to the vine. Add them to the veggies and lentils, then add water to cover all plus an inch or so. Add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt because the Parmesan cheese you’ll add later is salty, too.
Put on your bike shoes, helmet, gloves, and sunglasses. Optional: Start your Strava app or Garmin.
Bring to a boil and simmer for at least an hour. Stir frequently. Add water if it gets too thick.
Clip in and start stirring the pedals. Ride for at least one hour. Four or five is better.
While the soup is simmering:
- Chop up a good bunch of fresh flat leaf Italian parsley and cut up some fresh basil.
- Cut up a bunch of a dark leafy green vegetable of your choice, such as kale or escarole.
- Make some croutons from the best bread you can find. Cut it into largish cubes, coat with olive oil, and put them under the broiler. Keep an eye on them. When top looks golden, stir the croutons so the uncooked side is up, and make the other side golden. Be careful! It’s really easy to burn them.
- Grate up a nice bowl of Parmesan cheese.
While riding, stop as needed for:
- Scenic overlooks
- Side trails that are promising for alligator viewing
- Restroom and snack breaks
When the soup is nearly done, add in the chopped veggies and cook for about 10 more minutes. Then stir in the parsley and basil.
When the ride is nearly done, reminisce over the good time you had. At the finish, bid your friends goodbye and thank them for joining you.
Serve piping hot with a good smattering of Parmesan cheese and topped with golden croutons for crunch.
To keep on savoring the ride, go home and write a blog about it.