Lentil Soup (Fakes) is a staple in the Greek/Mediterranean Cuisine. It is a hearty soup perfect for cold winter day. If you grew up with it like I did, it is a comfort food that reminds you of your childhood. I ate it often and I am proud to continue the tradition with my own family.
I actually love cooking traditional Greek dishes and making them as healthy as possible by substituting some ingredients for healthier whole food options. Lentil soup however is not one that I needed to change.
Lentils are gluten free and packed with nutrients! High in fibre, complex carbs and protein; from all plant based foods it is the highest in folate which is exceptionally important for women before and during pregnancy. Also high in potassium and a great non-heme iron source, as well as copper and manganese.
Combined with whole grains, it makes a complete protein. Excellent for all, including those who follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
1 tbsp EVOO
1 large onion chopped or grated (I grate it because my kids do not like to see the onion pieces; makes it more kid friendly)
2 cups small green lentils
4 cups chopped carrots, approx 3 lg carrots (unpeeled) *optional
3 cups chopped potatoes (unpeeled); I use mini yellow fleshed potatoes-about 1/2 a bag *optional
4 tbsp tomato paste
4-6 bay leaves (depending on size)
2-4 garlic cloves crushed (put in 10 minutes before cooking time is over)
2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
*I use organic products to reduce exposure to chemicals & pesticides.
**I chop all veggies in small pieces to make it easier for my kids to enjoy but you can chop bigger pieces if you like.
***Some recipes don’t include carrots and/or potatoes. You can omit and it will still taste delicious but for a heartier, more filling soup, I would recommending adding one or the other, or both.
-Spread lentils out on a pan or table and look for little stones, remove and discard. (I will confess I don’t usually do this but it’s a good idea. No one wants to bite down on a small little rock and break / chip a tooth). -Rinse lentils under cool running water to wash off any dirt/debris.
-If you don’t digest legumes well, you can pre-soak them overnight, or an easy method I learnt is in a large pot add lentils, fill up with cold water to cover 1 inch over the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside. Rinse out and dry the pot.
-Add 1 tbsp EVOO to the large pot and let it warm up over medium heat.
-Add chopped or grated onion, stir and let cook for a couple of minutes.
-Add chopped carrots and chopped potatoes, stir and let cook for another 5 minutes.
-Add lentils, stir and let cook for a couple of minutes.
-Fill the pot with filtered water (can pre-boil for quicker cooking time), approximately 1 inch above lentils.
-Add 4 rounded tbsp tomato paste and stir well. (You can also dissolve the tomato paste in warm water before adding so it blends well but you don’t have, it will still dissolve in the water).
-Add bay leaves.
-Bring to a boil on high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer half-covered for 20 minutes. Stir every so often.
-At 20 minutes add crushed garlic cloves, this will allow the garlic to keep more of its nutrients since it’s not cooked for too long.
-Also add salt at this point (not sooner) and stir well.
*Depending on how soupy you want it you may wish to add a little more water. Best to have some filtered water pre-boiled just in case.
-Remove from heat, remove bay leaves, and serve.
**You can drizzle some EVOO on top, or add some vinegar (1 tsp at a time) or lemon juice which is very common, but you don’t have to. I myself enjoy it with organic red wine vinegar.
***Also traditionally it is served with bread for dipping in the soup. I would recommend whole grain bread if you choose to have it. I myself am not a bread person so I just eat the soup.
That’s it... Enjoy! Καλή όρεξη! Bon appetite, now you may eat 😊
-Please feel free to ask me any questions, or send comments below and I will respond within 24 hrs.-
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