A Smile in Every Spoonful: Lovely Lentil Soup

Whether you're looking for a meatless meal or something quick and hearty, this lentil soup with spinach and tomatoes will make dinner smile-worthy.
Lentil Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes - AvivaGoldfarb.com

Whether you’re looking for a meatless meal or something quick and hearty, this lentil soup with spinach and tomatoes will make dinner smile-worthy.

Lovely Lentil Stew with Spinach and Tomatoes

Prep (25 minutes) + Cook (30 minutes)

4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups

Lentil Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes - AvivaGoldfarb.com

This sweet and fragrant combination, suggested by my friend Jennifer Gross, hits just the right notes for my family, and is healthy vegetarian food at its best. Our young dinner guest Sophie Martel enjoyed three helpings of the stew!  Serve it with Baked Breadsticks on the side and Chocolate Banana “Ice Cream” for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup dried green/brown lentils, soaked in water overnight, if possible
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes, slightly drained
  • ¼ cup dried currants or raisins
  • 6 – 9 oz. baby spinach (or use 1 lb. regular spinach, leaves only)

Instructions:

(Peel and freeze the bananas if you are making the ice cream.  If you have soaked the lentils for faster cooking, drain them before proceeding with the recipe.)

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, cumin, cinnamon and salt, and cook until the onions are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the lentils and broth and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes (15 minutes for presoaked lentils).

Add the tomatoes, currants or raisins, and spinach. Bring it back to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to simmer it for 10 more minutes or until lentils are tender.

(Meanwhile, bake the breadsticks and blend and freeze the “ice cream” if you are serving them.)

Serve immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

Slow Cooker Directions:  

Omit the olive oil. Put the remaining ingredients except the spinach into the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.  Turn off the slow cooker, stir in the spinach and put the cover back on.  Allow the spinach to cook using the residual heat of the pot, 10 – 15 minutes.

Do Ahead or Delegate:  

Soak the lentils, dice the onion, combine the dry seasonings, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish.

Tip: 

A 2012 study published by the American Heart Association associates high fiber diets with decreased risk of stroke.  Foods generally containing generous amounts of fiber are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, so make sure to incorporate plenty of these into your diet.

Scramble Flavor Booster: 

Add ¼ – ½ tsp. cayenne pepper with the other spices.

Side Dish Suggestion: Baked Breadsticks

Prepare the breadsticks in the oven or toaster oven according to the package directions.  Serve them warm.

Side Dish Suggestion: Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

Blend the frozen bananas and the cocoa powder in a standing blender. Add the milk, if desired, for easier blending. (You can also add a spoon of peanut or other nut butter, maple syrup, and/or a touch of vanilla extract). Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Information per Serving (% based upon Daily Values):

Calories 280, Total Fat 8g, 13%, Saturated Fat 1g, 6.5%, Cholesterol 0mg, 0%, Sodium 742.5mg, 31.5%, Total Carbohydrate 42g, 14.5% Dietary Fiber 15.5g, 62.5% Sugar 13g, Protein 15.5g

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