Lentils are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. They are similar to beans as far as flavor and nutrients go, but they have one distinct advantage when it comes to preparation: they cook MUCH FASTER. Though rich and creamy, they are very low in calories.
Lentil Soup with Carrots, Tomatoes and Spinach
- You'll need a soup or stock pot that will hold 8 cups and a blender (immersion or standing).
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 medium yellow or white onion chopped
- 2 ea carrots peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 1 c lentils brown or green
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes lightly drained
- 4 c vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 c water
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 c baby spinach
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes .
- Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.
- Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
- Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid, and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup.)
- Add the baby spinach and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors are to your liking.
- Serve while hot. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).