Recently in New York we experienced some really beautiful, warm(!) weather. I opened my windows, walked through the park, indulged in tulips and basil and ice cream (Steve’s Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel— OMG). Now, of course, it is cold again, as it no doubt will be for many more days to come. So while just last week I was craving salads and smoothies, now I want hot food– by the bowlful. This is the lentil soup I make over and over again, not terribly complex yet still full of flavor and so, so nourishing.
*Update: I’ve started soaking my lentils, which makes them far more easily digestible. It also reduces the cooking time. After rinsing and sorting, place lentils in a bowl and cover with a few inches of recently boiled water, plus 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (or other acid). Let soak for several hours or overnight, then drain and rinse before proceeding with recipe.
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 medium carrots OR 2 handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
1 not too big yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1¼ cups green or brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
6 cups liquid (I use water + 1½ veg bouillon squares or 3 cups water + 3 cups veg broth)
1 tsp ground cumin
1½ cups diced new potatoes, unpeeled (I like them unpeeled and kind of chunky, about ¾” dice)
10 oz spinach, either fresh or frozen (if frozen then slightly thawed)
juice from ½ lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently and turning down heat as needed.
- Add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes more.
- Add lentils, liquid, cumin, and a couple dashes of salt and pepper. Turn up heat and bring to a boil. Then cover, lower heat, and simmer, stirring every once in a while, until lentils are close to–but not quite– done. This will take about 15 minutes for lentils that have been soaked beforehand and 20-25 minutes for non-soaked lentils.
- Add potatoes, turn up heat slightly, and cook, covered, for another 15 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.
- When soup is just about done, stir in spinach and lemon juice. Cook for a few minutes more. Check for seasonings. Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil. Also great with a splash of Tabasco.
Yield: About 6 servings