My hubby buys vegetarian lentil soup nearly every time we go to the grocery store. I was shocked the first time he brought home a big tub of the soup–my hubby, the meat-eater, enjoying a vegetarian dish?!? (I can’t tell you how much it thrills me that he loves a food we can both eat!!) Unfortunately, there is a down-side: what doesn’t thrill me about this scenario is how quickly those gigantic tubs can add up. One tub = 1, maybe 2, servings for him, and each tub costs around $8. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for something that often constitutes just a snack or only a portion of his lunch or dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to recreate his favorite soup a couple of times. Both times, however, no matter how much I seasoned, the soups turned out bland and tasted merely “OK.” Despite my past failures, my hubby has continued to ask me to try again. I’ve wanted to, but my ego has kept me from agreeing with him–what if I fail yet again?? Finally, after months of badgering, I caved. Fortunately for me, the third time really is a charm
I won’t lie, this recipe requires quite a bit of chopping and patience. By the time I finished chopping and sautéing, I was nervous that all of my efforts may have been wasted on yet another “OK” soup. My hubby and I taste-tested along the way, and although the soup was definitely better than my previous attempts, we both agreed that there was still something missing. It wasn’t until I added the spinach, cilantro, and lemon juice at the end that the soup was complete. My hubby tasted one final spoonful and his face lit up: “That’s it! It’s flippin’ awesome!” (OK, so I may have substituted ‘flippin’ for what he really said, but you get the idea). Needless to say, my version of the Vegetarian Lentil Soup didn’t even last more than a day before my hubby, stepson, and I had gobbled it up. Finally, a dish that we can all enjoy!!
- 1½ cups green lentils (approx. ¾ lb.)
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek (approx. 1 cup), white and light greens parts only, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2-3 carrots (approx. 1½ cups), peeled and finely chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery (approx. 1½ cups), finely chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper (approx. 1½ – 2 cups), finely chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes (approx. 2 cups), chopped
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ½ Tbs. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 6-8 cups filtered water (depending on how thick you like the soup)
- 2 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
- handfull cilantro, roughly chopped
- juice of one large lemon
- In a large bowl, cover the lentils with filtered water and allow to soak for at least 15-30 minutes (I simply let them soak while I was chopping up the veggies).
- In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over Medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Then, add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, tomato and spices (coriander, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper), stir well and sauté for 5-10 more minutes, or until the veggies have softened. *Be sure to stir the veggies often so they cook evenly. Rinse and drain the lentils and add them to the stockpot along with the filtered water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- When the soup is almost done cooking, stir in the spinach, cilantro, and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!