It’s starting to get a little chilly out and soup is my go to meal! If you’re looking to boost your protein and fiber intake lentils are the answer. One cup of cooked Lentils contain 18 grams of protein. That’s as much as three eggs. They also contain 15 grams of fiber to benefit your digestive system and since they don’t contain sulfur, you won’t have the bloating and gas that most legumes cause. They are loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of iron and magnesium. Best of all they are delicious and take only 20 to 40 minutes to cook. It doesn’t matter which lentils you choose they are all equally healthy and delicious.
This soup is hearty, delicious and easy to make. Perfect for fall. What you will need:
1C chopped onion
1/4 C olive oil
2-3 carrots chopped (1 1/2 to 2 C)
3 stalks celery (1C)
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
8 cups broth or half broth half water
1 1/2 to 2 Cups lentils ( for thick soup use 2 cups)
4-5 small bunches of spinach (more if you like)
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt or to taste (you can use chicken bouillon to season in place of salt)
1 tsp cracked pepper (to taste)
1-2 pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 Parmesan rinds (optional)
fresh lemon juice
Chop onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Rinse and drain spinach.
In large dutch oven or soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for a few minute until onions are soft. Add the bay leaf, oregano, basil, some pepper and a few pinches of dried crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, and broth. (Add Parmesan rinds if you have some. They add such a great flavor to any tomato based soup. You can keep the rinds in a zip lock bag in the freezer.) Bring soup to a boil. Cover partially and simmer for about an hour. Check to see if the lentils are cooked to your preference. I like them a little on the firm side.
Roughly chop or slice the spinach and add to the soup until wilted. It will shrink quite a bit so add as much spinach as you like. Add salt and more cracked pepper to taste. If your soup is too thick you can always add more broth or water with a little bullion.
This makes quite a large pot of soup. Enough for 6-8 servings. This soup so versatile. You could add chopped zucchini, eggplant or chard if you want. For garnish squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Hope you enjoy!