Lentil & Spinach Soup
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well
We got a break in the hot weather earlier this week, and on a gloriously cool Monday morning I had lentil soup on my mind. I made a big pot of this soup for the cafe, and although the extreme heat and humidity have returned, we’ve served a lot of it! Dressed up here with a few key spices, herbs and frozen chopped spinach (and no added oils or fats), lentils are great any time of year. Even on a warm summer evening, how nice it is to have a big pot of lentil soup in the fridge. All you need is a quick reheat for your portion of soup, a slice of good bread and a big salad – you’ve got an easy, nourishing and not-too-heavy meal. ~ Susan
1 16 oz bag dried lentils
2 large bay leaves
1 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups sliced or diced carrot
1 1/2 cups sliced or diced celery
1 1/2 teaspoons dried granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach – partially thawed – Cascadian Farms organic spinach is perfect
sea salt & black pepper to taste
Sort through the dried lentils (spread them on a large plate or countertop) to be sure they are free of small stones or other debris.
Optional step: Soak dried lentils in a large pot of water for 4 – 6 hours, drain and rinse, then add 8 cups of water and 2 bay leaves. Soaking makes the lentils more digestible and the nutrients more assimilable. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
Quick version: put dried lentils in a pot, add 8 cups water and 2 bay leaves. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
Add onion, carrot, celery, granulated garlic, oregano, basil, cumin and coriander.
Cover and continue cooking on medium-low for another 30 minutes.
Add the chopped spinach (don’t bother with draining it – just add the entire contents of the package). If it’s partially frozen that’s fine, the hot soup will take care of that.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s ready to serve! It will taste even better tomorrow, but why not have some right now?
Top with fresh chopped herbs of your choice: scallions, parsley, chervil, cilantro, basil, chives… any of these are perfect.
If you like your lentils to taste a little more rich add a little dollop of good butter or a light drizzle of olive oil to each serving.
Try ladling this soup over a bowl of simply cooked whole grains (brown rice, barley, kamut, wheat berries, quinoa, or whole grain couscous), or serve each bowl of soup with a slice of whole grain bread. Add a big green salad – try mixed lettuces with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sliced red onion and a light sprinkle of feta, it’s a great match to the flavors of the soup.