Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lentil Soup with Spinach

I once bought dried lentils in great quantities.They keep so well, I thought! After storing a batch for nine years (!), I learned that dried lentils that have been stored too long can take longer to cook than those that haven’t been sitting on the shelf past their freshness date - generally about a year. For more about lentils, see:
I remain a fan of lentils, but now buy them in smaller quantities. Low in calories and high in soluble fiber, lentils (as well as dried beans and tofu) are a tasty, low-fat meat alternative found in many recipes - including the soup I’ve just made! Unlike dried beans, lentils require no soaking. I prefer not to use canned lentils when dried ones are inexpensive and readily available year-round.
Lentil Soup with Spinach:
2 c. mixed, dried lentils, well rinsed and picked over for small stones or twigs
5 c. commercial or homemade beef bouillon (I used my Beef Stock, blogged March 9, 2012)
5 c. water
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 large stalks celery, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. salt (see Note)
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
¼ tsp. hot sauce
One - 10 oz. (284 mL) pkg. fresh baby spinach, stems removed
Grated Parmesan cheese, as garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except spinach and cheese in very large pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, immediately reducing to simmer. Cover and simmer 20-to-45 min. or until lentils become tender, depending on their age. Stir in spinach during final minute of cooking. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese. Serves 6-to-8.
Note: Reduce salt to taste if using bouillon concentrate or cubes. 

Rinsing lentils

Washing lentils

Chop one large onion

Four celery stalks ... add all prepared ingredients to pot

Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook
Add grated cheese for the finishing touch

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