Here’s the recipe for a delicious, warming, super simple lentil soup that’s good all year long – no need to wait for a chilly, damp spring day to make it. However, if you have one of those on the weather forecast, get yourself some dried lentils, veg stock and greens of your choice. I used mustard greens. Try kale, swill chard, spinach, but I’d steer clear of beet greens as they may turn your soup pink!
2 T olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/2 cup sliced celery, about 1/4″
1/2 cup sliced carrots, about 1/4″
Salt & Pepper
2 T ground cumin
1 T chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 pound dried lentils, picked through to remove any foreign bodies
2 cups diced tomatoes (I like the Muir Glen Fire Roasted ones when its not tomato season)
2 quarts vegetable stock (I like Pacific Natural – lots of mushroomy umami)
1 cup shredded greens, stems removed, torn into chunks you’d want to put on your spoon – in other words not too long and unwieldy
Greek Yogurt, as a condiment, optional
Hot Sauce, optional
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot with the shallots, celery and carrots over medium with a few pinches of salt and a few more cracks of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots begin to soften and turn bright orange. Add the cumin, chili powder and cayenne (if using) and stir into the hot oil for one minute, releasing their oils. Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock, stir to combine. Turn up the heat, bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover and ignore until the lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. If you’d like, and if you have one, use an immersion blender to purée some of the soup when the lentils are soft. This is optional, but makes a hearty mouthfeel. If you don’t have an immersion blender, it is one of my favorite kitchen tools & I highly recommend the investment of about $20. Next, add the greens and continue to cook until they are tender – timing will vary depending on the greens used. Spinach will just take a minute or two, mustard greens give about 10-15 minutes. Spoon into large bowls and garnish with yogurt and/or hot sauce.
P.S. I swear I won’t turn in to one of those people who puts their dog in every picture. Its just that he’s so darn cute! And in exchange for putting up with my dog infatuation, I didn’t crop out the clutter on the coffee table so you can see how I really live. See? We’re even.