Spicy Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is a nutritional powerhouse! When combined with other vegetables and spices, lentils will leave you feeling full longer than other types of soups. Part of the legume (bean) family, lentils contain high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them a satiating and low calorie choice, helpful for weight management. Soluble fiber absorbs water and creates a gel consistency that is known for binding cholesterol-containing bile and escorting it out of the body. Insoluble fiber consists of plant-compounds that the body cannot digest, helping contribute to healthy bowels. Together, this high fiber content can lower cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugars during digestion. Lentil soup is simple to make and is perfect for leftovers; enjoy this warming dish in the cool winter weather.
1 medium onion diced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 dry bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup French dry lentils, rinsed well and drained
1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
1 15-ounce canned tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
hot sauce as needed
1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips and cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent. Add bay leaf, oregano, cumin, chili flakes and garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
2. Add rinsed lentils to the pot along with potato, tomatoes and stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Add water, as necessary, ½ cup at a time if needed but a thicker consistency is best.
3. Near the end of the cooking time, add spinach to the pot and stir in. Cover soup for the remaining 1-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add in salt and cracked black pepper, to taste. Garnish with hot sauce of your choice if desired.