It’s always a fun to see what recipes end up topping the Feed Me Phoebe charts as your favorites every year. I’ll have the full list for you next week. But one of the dishes whose popularity most surprised me was this Red Lentil and Spinach Masala recipe that came in as number 4.
Lentils always seem like the lowly vegan peasant food that most self-respecting meat eaters wouldn’t touch unless providing structural support for some thinly sliced lamb on a restaurant plate. But I was pleasantly shocked last summer when my favorite self-respecting meat eater, Charlie, ordered the vegetarian entrée—a bowl of lentils with a fried egg—when we went out to a nice meal on Martha’s Vineyard at Beach Plum Inn.
Ever since then, I’ve added lentils back into our shared meal cycle. And now that I’ve tallied the votes (er, clicks), I see that my perceived legume bias was totally unfounded across the board. This is a win win for me, as it means this simple red lentil soup, which I once might have considered too pedestrian for your collective taste buds, now has a home here.
After a long two weeks of traveling, and a lot of rice noodles and fish sauce, I came home to snowy New York craving simple, healthy soups. In a effort to clean out my pantry, I decided to use up my remaining red lentils in a Moroccan harira-like concoction with lots of carrots and red chard mixed in.
As you continue fueling your resolutions and observing whatever detox is up your wellness alley, I hope you’ll give this warm bowl of goodness some love. I’m trying to eat less meat in addition to kicking sugar this month, and this soup has been the perfect addition to my lunchbox at Feed Me Phoebe HQ.
p.s. Wondering what all this detox nonsense is about? In case you missed it, check out this month’s theme for my year-long blog series (and forthcoming memoir) The Wellness Project!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dried split red lentils
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 1 bunch chard, stems removed, roughly chopped
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Saute the onion and carrot over medium-high heat until soft and beginning to brown, 7 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, turmeric, chili flakes, and salt. Cook one minute more. Stir in the tomatoes, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until the liquid has reduced and the tomatoes are soft, 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the lentils are soft, 10 minutes. Fold in the chard and cook until wilted, but still vibrant, 5 more minutes. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve the soup in bowls with a wedge of lemon on the side or a dollop of Greek yogurt and some crusty bread.