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Lentil Soups – Easy, Hearty, and Delicious

Have you made a pot of lentil soup lately? It’s healthy cuisine at its finest: easy, hearty, tasty, and loved by young and old. Lentils come in one pound bags in the dry bean section of your grocery store. You will usually find two types: greenish-brown ordinary lentils and orange lentils, which are actually just ordinary lentils without the skin. You can also find small dark green lentils, called French lentils, but these are generally more expensive and can be in the gourmet or international section of the store. They all cook quickly and make wonderful soups.

Here are three of Diana’s favorite recipes. All use chicken or vegetable broth made from cubes or liquid concentrate as the base of the soup; you can choose your favorite brand or just use water if you prefer.

Golden lentil soup

1 cup of orange lentils

6 cups of broth

4 carrots, chopped

1 chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

pinch cayenne, or to taste

Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Mash the lentils or blend them with a hand mixer. The recipe works equally well with regular (brown) lentils or split peas.

4-6 servings

Italian lentil soup

1 cup lentils (any kind)

6 cups of broth

2 chopped onions

4 garlic cloves, minced

pinch cayenne, or to taste

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup bulgur

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, undrained, split

2 10-ounce bags baby spinach leaves (or use frozen spinach)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except spinach and black pepper in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 30-40 minutes, or until lentils and bulgur are tender. Remove the bay leaves. Add the spinach leaves, cover and cook 2 more minutes. Serve with ground pepper to taste.

6-8 servings

Lentil and spinach soup with lemon

8 cups of broth

1 chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 cups lentils (any kind)

1 medium red potato, cut into 1/2 “cubes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of cayenne, to taste

1 10-ounce bag baby spinach leaves

Juice of one lemon

Freshly ground pepper

Put the broth, onion, garlic, celery, lentils, potatoes and spices in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20-30 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are tender. Add the spinach and lemon juice and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with ground pepper to taste.

6-8 servings

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