Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lentil Soup

It's been soooo cold here, and snowy even, it just makes me want to curl up with a nice, warm bowl of soup. Today, the soup that was calling my name is Lentil.

For excellent soup recipes, especially for a classically vegetarian soup, I always count on Mollie. This recipe comes from her classic Moosewood Cookbook. (I have both the original version from the 1970's and the 15 year anniversary edition, the latter is where I found this recipe).

The only change I made to the recipe was stirring in a few chopped spinach leaves a few minutes before serving. The drizzle of red wine vinegar was a revelation, it really added that little something extra that we didn't even know we had been missing! Try it, and you'll see.

Lentil Soup
Preparation time: about 1 hour Yield: 6 to 8 servings This is a very easy fat-free lentil soup that just about cooks itself. Only one pot is needed, so cleanup is easy.

3 cups dry lentils
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 8 medium garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes (I used 1 can diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh spinach (my addition; optional)
red wine vinegar, to drizzle on top

1) Place lentils, water and salt in a kettle. Bring to a boil, lower heat to lowest possible simmer, and cook quietly, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.

2) Add vegetables (except tomatoes & spinach), herbs, and black pepper. I also added another 1 1/2 cups of water. Partially cover, and let simmer peacefully another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Heat a medium saucepanful of water to boiling. Drop in the tomatoes for 10 seconds, then take them out peel off the skins, and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the remaining pulp and add to the soup. [or just throw in a can of tomatoes, who's going to know?]

Stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup chopped fresh spinach.
Let the soup cook for at least 5 minutes more.

4) Serve hot, with a drizzle of vinegar on top of each steaming bowlful.

1 comment:

veggal said...

Veggie soups do warm the soul don't they?

Lentils are also very nutritious. I like my lentil soups with rice.

Here's a lentil recipe with bottlegourd that you might like.


* 1 cup chana dal (split bengal gram)
* 1 cup bottlegourd, peeled and cut into small cubes
* Salt to taste

For Seasoning

* 1/2 tsp red chili powder
* Asafoetida, a pinch
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1/2 tsp mustard
* Turmeric powder, a pinch
* bay leaf, a small piece
* 4 cloves
* 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
* 4-5 tsp vegetable oil


1. Boil the bottledgourd pieces in a little water with some salt and a little turmeric powder.

2. Cook the chana dal (split bengal gram) in a pressure cooker for 4-5 whistles, or boil separately.

3. When the bottlegourd pieces are cooked, add the boiled chana dal.

4. Heat oil in a small pan for the seasoning (tempering). Add the asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add the bay leaf and cloves and the red chilli. Saute for a few seconds.

5. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Cover and let the dal boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander/cilantro leaves.

6. Remove the bay leaf and cloves and serve hot with plain white rice or Indian chapati or phulka.

Recipe is from

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