My Favorite Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound dried green or brown lentils, rinsed (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
  • 11 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
     

Directions: 

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery.  Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with their juices.  Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Add the lentils and mix to coat.  Add the broth and stir.  Add the thyme sprigs.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 40 minutes.  Add spinach and stir for about 30 seconds until spinach is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Variations: 

  • Add pasta to the soup.  Use a whole wheat pasta in a small size (like elbow) and add after the lentils have simmered for about 30 minutes.  Simmer for an additional 8 - 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked.