Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Lentil soup

Lentil soup is what you make when you need to go grocery shopping, because there's hardly anything in it - and it's reliably good.

Lentil soup:

8 oz dry lentils (brown, black, red, yellow...)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced (not crucial to include)
1" piece of ginger root, peeled and minced (if you happen to have it)
2 or 3 carrots, sliced
1 or 2 celery ribs, sliced
1 lg tomato, chopped (if you feel like it)
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper (more to taste)
Juice of a lemon
A handful of fresh spinach or other greens, washed and sliced.

Soak the lentils in plenty of water for several hours or overnight. Lentils are the gassiest mothers in the bean family, but it really does help if you change out the water a few times over the course of the soaking. Don't freak out if they sprout a little - they're actually better for you this way. Drain and rinse just before cooking.

Heat a soup pot to medium-high and add in the olive oil, onions, and the garlic and ginger if you're using them. Cook a couple minutes, until the onions soften (be careful not to burn the garlic).

Stir in the carrots and celery, and the tomato if you're using it. Add the drained lentils, enough water to cover by a couple of inches, the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then let simmer slowly for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the beans are al dente. This varies depending on the type of lentils you're using. Pink ones cook fastest, in my experience.

When the beans are cooked, add in the greens and turn off the heat. Let sit, covered, for a few minutes.

Serve garnished with a drizzle of olive oil or a fresh salsa (or both).

The salsa in the photo is a combo of fresh avocado, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

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