Sunday, March 22, 2015

Indian-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach

This is a soup that I created a couple years ago, basically by combining a couple recipes from an Indian cookbook (Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking) and using a recipe for a Greek chickpea soup called Revithia as inspiration. I've made it several times, but I never actually wrote down what I did -- UNTIL TODAY!!! I'm honestly surprised that I managed to make it so many times from memory with it coming out relatively the same each time. So here it is!

Indian-Style Lentil Soup with Spinach

1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 tsp garam masala
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (do not drain); I recommend low-sodium
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth; again, I recommend low-sodium
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 bunch scallions/green onions, sliced

  1.  Heat oil in a heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add garam masala and curry powder and continue to saute for a few more minutes -- do not let the spices or the garlic burn.
  2. Add lentils, undrained tomatoes, and 4 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked and tender. As the lentils cook they will absorb liquid, so you may need to add another cup or two of broth (or water) if the soup starts to get really thick.
  3. Once the lentils are fully cooked, stir in the coconut milk and then puree the soup using a hand blender. Alternatively, you can puree the soup in two or three batches using a traditional blender or a food processor.
  4. Add the spinach and scallions to the pureed soup and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, just long enough to allow the spinach to cook.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:
  • This is a mildly-spiced soup (because my family are wimps). If you want to make a hotter version, try adding some Indian chili powder or cayenne pepper with the other spices.
  • If made with vegetable broth, this recipe is fully vegan.
  • If you want, you could reserve half the sliced scallions to use for garnish.