If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I love making lentil soup in the winter. It is one of the most delicious and healthiest soups I make. Unfortunately my kids have not always agreed with me. Every year I make it again, hoping that this will be the year they change their mind. My kids are really surprising me these days, they will try almost anything I make, and more and more often, they actually like it.
So, before I get more into this lentil soup, a slight diversion… A few times recently my girls have commented on how they think I am the best cook ever. Today we were talking about eating at other people’s homes, and my younger daughter told me that she much prefers to eat at our house – “Mommy, you are such a good cook, no one is as good as you.” I almost cried. But seriously, what does she want? There must be something…and please don’t be offended if we have been to your house for dinner recently, this is a new phase, one I haven’t quite figured out yet…
Back to this soup – I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and decided it was time to try again. While it was cooking, my younger one asked what I was making for dinner – when I told her lentil soup, instead of a face that she has made in the past – she said “Yum!!” Ok, who are you and what have you done with my daughter?? Well, they both ate it, and although they didn’t have seconds, they at least ate enough. The biscuits were a huge hit as well, and filled them up – but as long as they got some lentil soup in them, I was happy. Another milestone done – wow!!
On another completely unrelated note…Correen from the Food Lovers Website interviewed me, and she published it today. Thanks Correen, it was quite fun!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped pancetta (about 1 ounce)
- 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 3/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pancetta; cook 1 minute or until pancetta begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add lentils, broth, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until lentils are tender and mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf.
Place 2 cups lentil mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters), and blend until smooth. Return pureed lentil mixture to pan. Add baby spinach, chopped basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and black pepper; stir until spinach wilts. Serve immediately.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Spinach and Lentil Soup with Cheese and Basil