This lentil soup features tomatoes, spinach, and tomatoes, in addition to the usual carrots and onions. It has become my favorite way to make lentil soup. The recipe is a veg-ified version of a recipe for lentil stew, involving ham and chicken broth, that was published in Cooking Light in 2002.
Good with a crusty bread and some cheese, or on its own.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups veg broth, and one cup water
1 cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 carrot, washed and grated
2 bay leaves
1 to 3 cups chopped spinach (I vary this ingredient, based on the amount of spinach that I have on hand, and it always turns out well)
3 medium sized potatoes, washed and diced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil and red pepper flakes in a stockpot over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes (until the onion is soft), stirring often.
Add water, broth, lentils, bay leaves and carrot to the pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
Add potatoes and spinach to the pot.
Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes, basil, thyme and black pepper to the pot.
Simmer 10 minutes.
Discard bay leaves and serve.
Note: if using a low-sodium broth, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the soup at the same time as the tomatoes and seasonings.