This dish has made it into my regular rotation. It feels hearty but healthy, so it’s a perfect meal to counter rich wintery recipes. When I first went gluten free, it was important to learn about the grains that I could include in my new diet. Lentils are rich in fiber and protein, so they are filling and perfect for a vegetarian main. The recipe calls for red lentils, which are definitely the best in this recipe. You can substitute other lentil varieties but they may take longer to cook. The recipe calls for blending the lentils after they cook. I’ve found this to be an optional stage—make the soup the consistency you like. Sometimes I blend about half of the soup, sometimes none. This step is more about preferred texture than flavor.
The author of this recipe, Heidi Swanson, recommends making the dish when you already have leftover rice on hand. This is a helpful recommendation, because although the dish isn’t complicated it does involve a lot of dishes. I often buy two bunches of spinach and cook a fresh batch each time I eat it. The recipe is definitely enough for four servings, and a second batch of spinach is easy enough to prepare. I rely on a tart, plain Greek yogurt and a wedge of lemon to incorporate into the final dish. That said, if you want to make this recipe vegan it’s as simple as omitting the yogurt topping.
I am also guilty of my usual—using heaping measurements for the spices and substituting vegetable broth for the water when cooking the lentils. If you do that, pay attention to the salt that you’re adding. It’s easy to go overboard if you’re not being careful. Lastly, don’t be shy with the lemon. It’s what gives this dish the extra tang and flavor that makes it stand out.
A word of gratitude to Heidi and her website, www.101cookbooks.com. This is one of the food blogs I follow on a regular basis. The recipes are inspiring, consistently delicious, and even when they are indulgent they are full of ingredients that are good for you. It’s easy to sort the recipe by ingredient, season, or dietary restriction, so if you are new to the world of healthy, nutritious food, I invite you to follow Heidi and her fabulous recipes.
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon by Heidi Swanson