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Lentil Tortellini Soup

1/2 c Dry lentils
2 c Coarsely shredded carrots
1 lg Onion; finely chopped
1 Chopped cooked ham or canadian-style bacon
2 Garlic cloves; minced
2 tb Chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tb Fresh thyme leaves
1/4 ts Pepper
5 c Low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 c Water
9 oz Tortellini; cheese-filled; refrigerated
4 c Fresh spinach leaves; torn

Rinse lentils; drain. Place in a slow cooker. Add carrots, onion, ham or bacon, garlic, and pepper. If you are substituting dried herbs for fresh, add them now. Pour broth and water over all.

Cover and cook as directed for desired heat setting: LOW HEAT: for 6+1/2 to 7 hours; HIGH: for 3+1/4 to 3+1/2 hours.

Adding the pasta (If using low heat, reset to high.) Stir in tortellini. Cover and cook 30 more minutes on high. Stir in fresh spinach, and fresh herbs if using. Serve at once.

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