Monday, March 28, 2011

Lemon Lentil Spinach Soup

We went to a restaurant recently that served up the most delicious lentil soup made with preserved lemons.

That tangy lemon flavour came to mind when I had some lentils that I wanted to soup up. But I didn't have preserved lemons to work with (this will change shortly!), so I set to work recreating that soup with just lemon rind and lemon juice.

Although this soup can be made just with water, vegetable broth gives it a nice richness. Since I don't always have homemade vegetable broth, I always ensure that I have some organic vegetable bouillon cubes on hand. So handy. Just a little bouillon adds a lot of flavour when you don't have the time to slow cook food. You could say that bouillon is my magic ingredient in the kitchen.

This is a really nourishing soup with just a touch of spring's greens to add some colour and texture. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Lemon Lentil Spinach Soup
You can just use just water for this recipe but you may need to add more salt to flavour. If you decide to use a little broth or bouillon to add richness, just add a little as too much will overwhelm the delicate lemon flavour. You can remove the lemon rind at the end if you want, but I like the lemon flavour and leave it in! If you want to remove the peel, try to peel it off the lemon in big long pieces as they will be easier to remove from the soup at the end.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups green lentils or French green lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 lemon, rind peeled with vegetable peeler, and juiced for 2-3 tbsp juice (or more to taste)
3/4 tsp- 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable bouillon or broth (I use two organic vegetable bouillon cubes with 4 cups water)
2 cups chopped greens (spinach and arugula are a nice combo)

1. Saute onion in olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add celery and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add lentils, parsley, large pieces of lemon rind, salt, pepper and water/broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes. Remove lemon rind if desired.
3. Add lemon juice and chopped greens. Cook for another few minutes until greens are wilted. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.