Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lentil and Spinach Soup

My favorite season is fall. I love the weather, leaves changing colors, apple cider, and all the delicious yummy soups to enjoy on a windy, blustery day. Soups are so simple, aren't they? You really can throw just about anything into a stock pot with some water, add a little seasoning and you are done!  Here's a delicious Lentil and Spinach Soup that uses red lentils. Much to my surprise, the lentils didn't hold their color...they turned yellow when I cooked them! Still makes a colorful soup though, with the green spinach, red tomatoes and orange carrots.

*got this recipe from Jamie Oliver's cookbook Jamie's Food Revolution. Really awesome cookbook. Check it out!

Lentil and Spinach Soup Recipe
Serves: 6 Prep: 40 minutes Cooking Time:  35 minutes

2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 quarts vegetable broth
thumb sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced
1/2-1 fresh red chile, sliced
10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups red lentils
7 cups spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil

1. In a large soup pot, heat up 2 TB olive oil. Add carrots to garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. 
2. Add vegetable broth, ginger, chile, tomatoes and lentils. Cook for about 30 minutes until lentils have softened but still hold their texture, check them after 15 minutes of cooking.
3. Add spinach. Cook for 2 more minutes. Take off heat and season with salt and pepper. Add a dollop of plain yogurt to each bowl.  DONE!


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop up all the veggies and keep in fridge until ready to use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Use green lentils instead of red.
~Add 1 TB of lemon juice at end to change the taste a little.
~Instead of carrots try parsnips. 
~Try swiss chard instead of spinach. 

Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber and iron, and have an advantage of cooking quickly. There are several types of lentils including french green lentils, brown lentils, pink lentils and red lentils. No need to soak these guys, but do make sure to rinse them out and look for any stones or debris.

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