Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hearty, Healthy, Easy and Delicious Lentil Soup

My dear friend Courtney is a fabulous cook and this lentil soup is one of her specialities. Over the years she's tweaked this recipe to perfection into a meal I won't ever get tired of. It's easy to make, doesn't require a ton of ingredients and best of all you're done in about 45 minutes. Thanks to the lentils its a great source of protein and hearty meal. Courtney's secret magic ingredient is the lemon - it adds so much to the flavor! This recipe is vegan and freezes beautifully - enjoy :)
Courtney's Lentil Soup
2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 t curry powder (Penzey's Spices or Savory Spice Shop are my favorite spice sources)
1 large can diced plum (Roma) tomatoes, with juice
2 cups dried lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained (I buy a big bag of mixed lentils at Costco)
6 cups (48 fl oz/ 1.5 liters) of vegetable stock
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach or kale
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and their juice, lentils, stock and lemon slices. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the lemon slices and bay leaves.
Just before stirring stir in the spinach, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I usually freeze half of this, so I lightly sauté the greens separately and add just before serving).