Lentil soup with carrot, tomatoes and spinach

 

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

Lentil soup is one of the most inexpensive, nutritious foods you can make. If you can't find green lentils, substitute brown.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, Mediterranean

Equipment

  • You'll need a soup or stock pot that will hold 8 cups and a blender (immersion or standing).

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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).
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