Photo by Rachel's Bite, Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 US licensed.
Is there anything that makes you feel more healthy than loading up your shopping basket with a bunch of green vegetables? I find it especially comforting when they are to make a big pot of healthy soup. I knew had to try this recipe for Very Green Lentil Soup when I saw it featured in "The Soup of Life", an article highlighting green soups made with lots of veggies from the September/October 2011 issue of Eating Well magazine.
Lentils are a super food, right? They are high in nutritional value, easy to prepare, and cheap! I know some people are afraid of them, but I am so glad I got into eating them. They fill you up and mostly take on the flavor of whatever you are cooking. To me, they are a comfort. This recipe calls for French green lentils, which are available in many specialty markets or natural-foods stores, but you can also use plain brown lentils if you can't find them.
This soup has a bit of an Indian flavor due to the cumin and coriander, but the fresh lemon juice makes it super fresh. And of course the feta cheese adds a wonderful richness that really makes this soup have several layers of flavor.
Very Green Lentil Soup
Makes 8 services, about 1⅔ cups each
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1¼ tsp. salt, divided
1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
8 large green chard leaves
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
12 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any touch stems trimmed
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
½ tsp. ground coriander
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
½ jalapeno peppe, minced
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to aboil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard; chop the greens and slice the ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potato into ½-inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
When hte lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stire in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeno and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.
Per Serving: 191 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 9 g added sugars; 10 g protein, 9 g fiber; 735 mg sodium; 793 mg potassium.
Love is all around you... Enjoy!
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