Whenever dad and I ventured into a Chinese restaurant, he would opt for either wonton or egg drop soup. As a young impressionable lad, I thought that’s all the soup choices that Chinese cuisine had to offer. Until one day when I spotted Hot and Sour soup. I gave it a try and I haven’t looked back. I have a taste for spicy food and it’s rare to find mouth burning flavors in a soup.
Whenever Lent is approaching, I surf websites and YouTube looking for awesome meatless recipes. The problem is most meatless recipes that are considered “healthy” usually taste like bland cardboard. At first, I reluctantly tried a recipe for Spicy Lentil Soup and was pleasantly pleased. Since, my initial attempt, I have tweaked this one. Also remember this recipe during the year if you have a vegetarian guest.
1/3 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium onion*
2 Stalks of celery*
*The goal is 2 cups of mirepoix (1 Cup of onion, ½ cup of carrot, ½ cup of celery)
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon of Curry powder (use ½ t of curry and hot madras curry for a spicier soup)
1/8 teaspoon of Cayenne
¼ teaspoon of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of Salt
Black Pepper to taste
1 Can of crushed tomatoes
4 Cups of Vegetable broth (try chicken broth outside of Lent)
2 Cups of water
½ Package of frozen chopped spinach
1 Cup of Lentils
Step 1: Check lentils for stones. I do this by spreading them on a sheet pan. Then rinse.
Step 2: Heat up the olive oil and start with the carrots. After two mins. Add the onion and celery. Remember to avoid high heat. You’re looking to soften the aromatics, not brown them.
Step 3: Add the spices for a minute to “wake them up.”
Step 4: Add the lentils, broth and water. Simmer until the lentils are tender.
Step 5: Add the tomatoes and spinach and keep simmering.
Step 6: When the tomatoes are cooked, your soup is done. But there’s one more thing to do.
Step 7: Remove 2 cups of bulk with a slotted spoon, blend smooth and replace. Your soup will now have a creamy consistency.
Step 8: Enjoy! Mangia! I prefer a tablespoon of chopped jalapeños on top for some extra kick.
During Lent, there’s still something of a chill in the air, especially in the evening. Whether you feel obligated to remain meatless on Friday’s during Lent, all year long, or simply desire a healthy alternative, get ready to enjoy this easy recipe. Let me know if you plan on rattling some pots and pans with this one.
If you attempt this recipe with an InstantPot…let me know how you did it.
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