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Green Lentil and Spinach Soup

Serves 4

2 Tbsp Canola or Olive Oil

3 Shallots or 1 onion, finely chopped

1 Carrot, finely chopped

A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, coarsely chopped

3 galic cloves, finely chopped

3 Tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced

3/4 cup French green lentils, rinsed

5 cups vegetable stock

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

3 1/2 ounces of baby spinach

To Finnish:

1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil

Parmesan, hard goat cheese, or other well-flavored hard cheese (optional)

Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan.  Add the shallots or onion, carrots, and thyme and sautee gently for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and tomatoes and sautee for one further minute.

Tip in the lentils, stir, then add the stock and a little salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Add the parsley and spinach and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Check the seasoning, then ladle into warmed bowls, trickle over a little oil, and shave over some cheese if you would like.