I was introduced to this Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach recipe (from Fresh Food Fast Cookbook) last year by our Aunt who consistently makes great vegetables and vegetarian soups and sides. She cooks at home a lot and finds recipes that make healthy vegetables the star. Her soups and sides are often packed with unique flavor and each dish is so different from the next, a Northern California Slow Food Movement kind of approach. You know on Sundays, when you go out for a big brunch, afterward you feel so full (and full of guilt) that you think there is no way you will ever overcome it. Well, the meals Anne creates on Sundays are the kind that get you ready for a new and healthy start to your overwhelming week ahead, a “Blameless on the Food” meal if you will!
Last year she made this Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach a lot and added a nice touch to the end by serving it with a dab of sour cream and some fresh chopped herbs on top. I’ve gotten better at looking at recipes and guessing whether it would be worth making, or at least I thought I had. I have to say, this recipe surprised me because I thought it looked skimpy on flavor-punch. So if I hadn’t had it prepared for me first, I would have never guessed it would be one of my favorite recipes of 2010!
Some favorite Vegetarian Cookbooks that Anne introduced me to are:
- A Taste of Heaven and Earth by Bettina Vitell (great veggie Mexican)
- Tassajara Cookbook: Lunches, Picnics and Appetizers by Karla Oliveira (great spreads & apps)
- Fresh Food Fast by James Berley (this great soup)
Lemon Lentil Soup with Spinach Recipe
From Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley
1 1/2 cups red or brown lentils, rinsed (I used red)
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes, with their juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
4 slices peeled fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 10-ounce bag washed baby spinach
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly milled black pepper
In a pressure cooker over high heat, combine 4-5 cups of water with the lentils, tomatoes, oil, garlic, and salt. Wrap the ginger, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth, tie it closed with kitchen string, and add this bouquet garni to the pot (I don’t make the bouquet garni and just throw these ingredients into the soup, for speediness). Lock the lid in place and bring to full pressure. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. (I did this same thing above but without a pressure cooker in a stockpot on the stove).
Transfer the pressure cooker to the sink and run cold water over it to release the pressure. Remove the lid and discard the bouquet garni.
Return the pot to medium heat. Add the spinach and simmer until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice. Crush the garlic against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon and stir so that all the garlic completely melts into the soup. Add pepper and serve immediately.
+ A dab of sour cream or yogurt for serving & fresh chopped herbs to garnish.