Chunky Healthy Hearty: Fresh Mediterranean Tomato, Spinach and Lentil Soup


In my first summer of vegetarianism I quickly realized how hard it is to get a good canned soup that fulfills all the needs I was speedily coming to understand as a veggie newbie: how do you keep vegetables from getting boring? How do you keep homemade soup from coming out stringy or too salty? The answer on that fateful day was lemon lemon lemon. And spinach. And a giant pot.

This soup is incredibly inexpensive to make, lasts for days, and only gets better the longer it sits in your fridge. Besides what's listed here you can throw in basically any vegetable you've got on hand, which for me is usually carrots (throw them in first). I've tossed in precooked chunks of potato in the past too (only to heat them if they're well cooked), to great avail. I almost always double this recipe. Your house will smell sooooo good I promise.

You're gonna need:

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil leaves

1/2 tsp (2 mL) each dried oregano and thyme leaves

Pinch each dried rosemary leaves, crumbled, and pepper
My pinches are more like small handfuls to be honest

3 cups (750 mL) vegetable stock

1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) lentils.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cups (750 mL) fresh baby spinach leaves
Of course you can use frozen, but it's just not the same. Frozen spinach will break up more easily and does taste a little bit different

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Optional, but highly recommended if you can get the good stuff
Have on hand:
Large (and I mean large) soup pot/saucepan, preferably with handles for leverage when you stir this baby - the soup's really chunky so it can take a little muscle and you don't want this all over your kitchen floor (believe me).

Go to!:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in seasonings, vegetable stock, tomatoes, lentils and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach leaves until wilted, about 30 seconds, really not much longer. Serve with Parmesan, if desired. Grate lemon zest as garnish if you're into that and love the lemon.

Makes 8 cups (2 L), 4 servings.


Tomato Tip: If you have canned whole tomatoes rather than diced, an easy way to cut them up is using kitchen shears. Pour tomato liquid into soup (to avoid messy overflow) and cut tomatoes in the can.

Nutritional Info

Per Serving: 280 cal, 20 g protein, 6 g fat, 42 g carb, 10 g fibre, 1265 mg sodium. Excellent source vit A, vit C, folate, niacin, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Very high source dietary fibre (take note!)

Calories : 280 (AMAZING)

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