Red Lentil Soup
For a lively variation, stir in a tiny dollop of chili paste or hot pepper sauce and/or sprinkle each portion with a handful of chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley.
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. salt, or more to taste
1 Tbs. olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
2 medium onions, diced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 medium parsnips, cut into ½-inch dice
2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch dice
1 small bunch spinach (8 oz.), rinsed well, thick stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- In medium saucepan, combine lentils, bay leaf and 4 cups cold water. Cover partially and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils are tender, about 12 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Puree lentil mixture with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- While lentils are cooking, in large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in parsnips, carrots, salt to taste and 1 1/2 cups water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Stir spinach and lemon juice into vegetable mixture. Cover and cook until spinach is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lentil puree and cayenne and warm through. Taste and season with salt and cayenne. Serve hot.