Hearty Lentil Soup
I can't imagine anything better than a bowl of my mum's rustic homemade lentil soup on a cold day. The wholesome and hearty taste nourishes not only the body but the soul.
Leading up to Greek Easter is the traditional 40-day lent during which we cook LATHERA FAGITA (oil-based foods). During this time, I can’t imagine anything better than a rustic and homely Greek soup. It is one of the most popular Greek dishes during this time and is cooked in every Greek household.
But what I most love about this soup is that it can be eaten all year round as it is perfect on a cold winter’s day yet just as good served cold straight out of the fridge on a warm summer’s day. Don’t believe me? Try it! Containing lentils, tomatoes, onions, rice, and carrots, it’s suitable for those who follow a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, and Mediterranean diet.
A bowl of lentil soup, a crusty piece of bread, and some olives are probably the most unpretentious, simple, and warming foods a person can have.
KALI OREXI !
I always suggest soaking for 2 hours and changing the water a couple of times too. I find it helps cook the lentils faster but more importantly, soaking helps neutralize the anti-nutrients that can interfere with digestion. If I don’t soak them, I tend to get bloated. If I do soak them and rinse them a couple of times, I don't seem to get such effects.
Olive Oil and Vinegar:
You may look at this recipe and think why are we adding so much extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar? What I suggest you do, is once it's cooked, try a spoon full prior to adding the oil and vinegar and then add some and try it again. For some reason, the oil and vinegar tend to enhance the flavour of the lentils and add a layer of freshness to the earthy flavours.
As the soup is cooking, you may find that it thickens too much. To thin it out a little (not too much as you want it slightly thick) just add ½ cup of boiling water at a time.
Once cooked and cooled, you can store the soup in an air-tight container in the fridge. If you feel you have made too much then freeze it in batches in freezer-safe containers.
And now it’s time to start cooking! As always, if you make any of my recipes, I would love to hear your feedback. I am available here via email or you can catch me daily on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to save it on your Pinterest board as well! I have a board named CreateCookShare that you can save. Can’t wait to hear from you.
Hearty Lentil Soup
300g / 1.5 cups French green or brown lentils
400g canned diced tomatoes
8-9 cups boiling water
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced or grated
½ cup rice, medium grain
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Crusty bread, feta (diary-free option) and finely chopped parsley
1. Prepare the lentils by soaking them for 2 hours prior to cooking. Drain and rinse well.
To create a light-coloured stock and lovely light flavour, par-boil the lentils for 10 minutes. Once they have boiled, drain again into a colander. Set aside.
2. Now add to a wide base pot the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Then add the rice, tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves and 8 cups of boiling water.
3. Bring to boil, cover with the steam hole open, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Check halfway through if more water is needed. Only add boiling water, not cold water.
4. Once cooked add sea salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. Stir through and serve.
Offer extra virgin olive oil and vinegar at the table if more is required.