This soup has golden cooked lentils, bright flecks of puréed roasted peppers, and green baby spinach. It also provides a healthy dose of garlic.
You might be wondering why the title says "red lentils" but the description says "golden cooked lentils." Red lentils lose their pinkish color during the cooking process. However, they cook more quickly than the green and yellow varieties, and have a smooth consistency that works well in soups.
1 generous cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
2 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 yellow, orange, or red peppers (or 1-pint mini-peppers), washed, seeded, and cut in strips
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cipollini onion or shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach, washed
Place the lentils and water in a medium sauce pan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the lentils 20 minutes, or until tender and falling apart.
While the lentils are cooking, toss the pepper strips in 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place on a baking sheet and roast at 400F for 15 minutes, or until tender and just starting to brown. Let the peppers cool.
Place the cooled peppers in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
When the lentils are almost ready, heat the remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and the red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, then the onion, and sautée until the garlic turns golden-brown.
Stir in 1 teaspoon salt.
Carefully pour the cooked lentils and puréed peppers into the skillet, stir until thoroughly combined, and cook about 5 minutes.
Add the baby spinach to the skillet, and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally.