Today, I am beginning a series on hypoallergenic cooking. If you have allergies, or have ever been on a cleanse, or for whatever reason have been ordered by the doc to restrict certain foods from your diet, you know how hard it can be to not only feed yourself but to feel satisfied after eating. As I discover new and delicious recipes, I'll share them here.
This is a lovely warm soup. The lentils are high in protein so you'll feel full and get an energy kick.
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
Actual Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Number of Servings: 6
Special Features: Vegetarian
This recipe contains no: dairy (if you exclude the yogurt garnish), grains, sugar, nightshade vegetables, yeast, high glycemic foods, caffeine, alcohol, trans-fats, processed foods, colouring or preservatives
DO: use fresh, organic ingredients for best results
DO: make sure that your vegetable or chicken stock meets your dietary restrictions (e.g. no sugar, low sodium, etc.) or make your own the next time you roast a chicken and freeze it to make this soup at a later time
Lebanese Lentil Soup With Spinach and Lemon
"Easy, economical and supremely satisfying, this soup of lentils (also known as Esau due to its biblical roots) is a cold-weather staple in my house. It's equally delicious without the spinach, and you could substitute fresh cilantro for the mint. To enjoy this soup at its best, garnish it with a dollop of tangy, full-fat, Balkan-style yogurt."
3 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
2 Medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp Ground cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups Green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups Vegetable or chicken stock
4 cups Water
2 tsp Dried mint or 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 8-oz Bag washed spinach, tough stems removed
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 tbsp Lemon juice
Plain yogurt for garnish (optional - avoid if eliminating dairy from your diet)
In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low. Cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Stir in cumin and cayenne; cook 30 seconds. Add lentils, stock and water, and raise heat to high.
When it comes to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add mint and season with salt and pepper. Purée 1 cup of soup in food processor and stir back into pot.
While lentils are cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add half of spinach and stir until wilted. Add remaining spinach and stir until wilted. Transfer spinach to cutting board and roughly chop. Set aside.
When ready to serve soup, bring to simmer and stir in spinach, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with dollop of yogurt if using.
Notes from Cookie's Mom:
We used a pressure cooker to cut cooking time in about half. We didn't enjoy the partially pureed consistency. We think it's best completely pureed. If you have a really good immersion blender, use it. Otherwise, let the soup cool, puree in a blender, reheat and serve. We cut the cayenne pepper in half (to 1/4 tsp), and found it to be just the right level of heat for us. We did not add the yogurt. Delicious!