It’s soup weather again. High protein, tasty lentils make an eco-friendly and satisfying meatless meal. Plenty of vegetables make this soup balanced. And lentils don’t take long to cook, so this can even work as a weeknight dinner. The lemon and spinach give this soup a bit of a Mediterranean flair. If you like, it’s nice garnished with a sprinkle of feta or other Greek cheese.
This recipe makes a pretty large batch of soup so you can take the leftovers to work the following day. If you like the lentils to remain intact without breaking down, use French green lentils. If you don’t mind a less defined lentil, brown lentils are more common and more economical. Both make a great soup.
Lentil Soup with Spinach and Lemon
8 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups green or brown lentils, picked through and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 pinch dried oregano
1 bunch spinach, washed and stemmed
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the water or broth and lentils in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until mostly tender, but still whole, about 20 minutes. Salt to taste.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until warm. Add the onion, celery, carrot and pepper, along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one to two minutes. Add the herbs and some freshly ground pepper and stir. Remove from heat, and add to the soup pot with the lentils and broth. Bring to a simmer and add the spinach. Simmer for 15 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Use organic ingredients and organic and local vegetables whenever possible.
Recipe Copyright 2009 Vanessa Barrington
Image: Maggie Hoffman