Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lentil Soup

Lentil soup, which is usually served hot, may be vegetarian, but can also be made with meat stock or pieces of meat. Red or green lentils may be used. Other ingredients may include vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, celery, parsley, and onion. Common added flavorings include garlic, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. It is sometimes garnished with croutons or chopped herbs.

 (Serves 8)
2 tablespoons olive oil                                      2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped                                   2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery                                               2 small tomatoes, chopped
3 cups uncooked green lentils, rinsed            1 bay leaf            
4 cups shredded spinach                                  3 tablespoons lemon juice
8 cups of water                                                  salt and white pepper to taste

1.      1. Put lentils and water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam on the surface, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 1 hour.

2.      2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add carrots and remaining ingredients except spinach and lemon juice, then continue cooking until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.

3.      3. Transfer onion, carrots and others from saucepan to pot with lentils. Mix well. Once lentils are tender, add spinach, salt and pepper, and cook 10 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice and serve.

Lentil soup is recognized as a highly nutritious, particularly good source of protein, dietary fiber, iron and potassium.

Tip: This robust stew-like soup makes a wonderful dinner served with potato latkes and applesauce on the side. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze in containers for future use.