Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lentil Soup

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.

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