lentil and spinach soup

In ingredient on March 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm

this soup is the kind of food that actually makes you feel better for eating it. it’s packed with good stuff and the flavors only get better with time. the best part? you can make it start to finish in under 30 minutes, just like rachael ray.

part of what makes it so good are the lentils.

according to wikipedia, lentils contain very high levels of protein, as well as dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1 and other minerals. apparently, health magazine selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. there are many different colors of lentils, but i generally stick to plain old (most common) green. i don’t think it makes a bit of difference for this recipe which color you choose.

if lentils are a new frontier for you, don’t worry – they don’t taste like much on their own and generally soak up the flavors around them. hence, this soup would be a great introduction.

start by sauteeing about a cup of finely chopped onion in olive oil in a soup pot.

then add about a cup and a half of chopped carrots (i like using the mini carrots so they end up as perfect little polka dots in your soup) and two cloves of minced garlic.

sautee until the onions are translucent and the carrots are starting to soften. i like this soup to have a bit of a tooth (in other words, to not be mushy) so i don’t want to over cook the carrots.

then i mimic an indian cooking technique called blooming (to get the best flavor out of your spices) – spread the veggies to the edges of the pot,

pour a small amount of olive oil in the center and dump a teaspoon of cumin right on it.

stir for just a second, then mix throughout the veggies.

i also added a teaspoon of dried thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

next, dump in a can of chopped tomatoes with their juice, a 14 ounce can of chicken (or veggie) stock and two cups of water.

add one cup of lentils.

bring the soup to a boil, then simmer with the lid on for 8-10 minutes until the lentils are cooked. again, i like a little tooth in my soup, so i cook them al dente. for softer lentils, simmer a little longer.

right at the last minute before serving (or when the lentils are cooked and you’ve turn off the burner), stir in a bag of baby spinach, roughly chopped if you are so inclined.

the hot soup blanches the spinach! c’est si bon.

[note: if you are making this soup, as i was, for lunches throughout the week and not to eat right away, your spinach will not stay as bright green and nice as it is right away. this doesn’t bother me. if it bothers you, leave the spinach out and add a handful to your serving when you reheat it.]


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