Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spiced Lentil Soup

Filling and nutritious, lentils are really a great food. They are full of protein and fiber. I think of them as starter legumes or beans. They are fast and easy to cook and don't need to be soaked. If you really like them you can use them for the base of a salad or even eat them like a grain with other proteins or vegetables.

Try this soup. It makes a lot and can be eaten for a quick lunch, heated in the microwave, or for the center piece in a healthy filling dinner.

If you feel intimidated by all the ingredients, notice this soup is simple and fast. Most of the stuff on the ingredient list are spices you probably have in your home already. This combination of spices is typical in Moroccan foods.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, coarse chop
5 small potatoes, 1 in dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lg carrots, cut to 1 in chunks
2 ribs celery, diced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne or red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup lentils
2 quarts stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup each cilantro and parsley

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil; heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, garlic, carrots and celery; cook 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper.

2. Sort the lentils; rinse. Add to the saucepan. Add the stock. Cover; heat to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer; cook until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 50 minutes.

3. Transfer 2 cups of the lentils with a little of the stock to a blender; puree. Return to the saucepan. Stir in the soy sauce, cilantro and parsley.

At just 3 points per cup, this is a good meal!

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