Ok, people, I want to talk to you about my new favorite thing. Lentils. Specifically, green lentils. They are amazing and hearty and, from what I understand really really good for you. So, why not make an amazing vegetarian soup?! This is a fantastic recipe to make on a Sunday and nibble on throughout the week. The soup is hearty enough to be a full meal or served as a first course of your next party!
2 cups green lentil
1 cup black, brown or wild rice
2 cups diced carrot
1 red onion (diced)
1 leek (sliced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
1 bunch kale (chopped - I used purple kale but you can use any type)
1/2 bunch fresh spinach (chopped)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
(additional salt and pepper to taste)
4 cups veggie broth
10 cups water
Start by soaking your beautiful green lentils in water while you dice up all of your veggies. In order to fully embrace my obsession with the lentil, I did some research on this amazing little legume. I used a French green lentil, but there are many different types - about a dozen.
According to Wikipedia, about 30% of the calories from the lentil come from protein, which in a nutshell, means they have very high protein. Lentils also contain lots fiber and vitamin B...and green lentils contain the most fiber of all of the varietals. I'm a fan.
Ok, so while your lentils are soaking in the water, chop up your carrots, celery, garlic, onion and leek.
On the leeks, if you're not used to cooking with them, just use the white part.
Once all your veggies are chopped, heat up the olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat and add the diced veggies. Cook just until the the onion and garlic softens, about 7 minutes or so.
While your veggies are cooking, chop up your kale and get it ready to go, but don't add it yet. You don't need to worry about chopping the spinach leaves, when it comes time to add them, just use the whole leaf.
Once your veggies are cooked, drain your lentils and add them and the rice to the veggies. I used a lovely black rice (pictured below) and it went really well with the rest of the flavors. If you can't find a black rice, just use wild rice.
Give the veggies, rice and lentils a stir and then add your veggie broth, water, kale, spinach and all of the spices and turn the heat to high.
Keep the burner on high just until the soup boils, reduce the heat to low and cover for 25 minutes. Covering the soup will ensure that the lentils and rice cook thoroughly.
After the soup cooks covered for 25 minutes, remove the cover and continue to cook on low for another 30 minutes or so. I added another 1/2 tsp of salt and a bit of pepper for flavoring at this point and it was a perfect balance.
After the final 30 minutes, simply serve and enjoy!