Red lentil soup with lemon and spinach

December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm (101 cookbooks, Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, Deborah Madison, Fall recipes, Indian, Peter Berley, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

I already have two go-to red lentil soup recipes (Turkish and curried), but somehow I wasn’t in the mood for either of them, and I decided to try a new recipe instead. This recipe is from 101cookbooks, and based on a recipe from Deborah Madison. I followed the recipe closely except that instead of a bunch of spinach I used a bag of mixed greens (baby spinach, arugula, and baby chard). I didn’t chop the leaves, which was probably a mistake as they ended up a bit stringy. I didn’t serve the soup with brown rice, and we didn’t miss it.  We did try it with yogurt, and it seemed good both with and without the yogurt.

I don’t know why the recipe calls for yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones that most Indian recipes call for.  And they’re not popped in hot oil.  I’ve actually never cooked with whole yellow mustard seeds before.  I had to go out and buy some!

I ended up using the juice of two lemons, which made the soup quite lemony.  The first day it was perhaps a bit too much lemon, but as leftovers it was fine — the lemon seemed to mellow down.

This soup is more Indian tasting than my other two red lentil soup recipes.  Derek said it tasted similar to other dals I’ve made in the past, but I thought all the lemon juice made it taste a bit unusual.  This recipe has a lot of turmeric and salt!  I used kosher salt but still I found the soup a tad too salty for my taste.  Derek was happy though.  He ate the soup for breakfast several days in a row.

I’ll definitely throw this recipe into my red lentil soup rotation.

Rating: B
Derek: B+

Update Feb 2013:  I recently tried a red lentil and coconut milk soup from Deborah Madison.   The recipe is actually titled “fragrant red lentils with basmati rice and romanesco.” In addition to the coconut milk, the lentils are seasoned with ginger, turmeric, jalapeños  onions, cayenne, bay leaf, and black mustard seeds.  The recipe also calls for romanesco, but I couldn’t find any so I used cauliflower  The cauliflower florets are sautéed with the same basic seasonings as the lentils, then everything is combined and garnished with cilantro and yogurt.  The recipe was fine, but it was more work than other red lentil recipes I’ve made, without being particularly exciting.  I won’t make it again.

Lemon lentil soup with spinach

Tonight (Feb 26, 2022), Derek made a similar recipe for dinner, this time from Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast. Here’s a comparison, with the 101 cookbooks / Madison recipe in parentheses.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups red or brown lentils, rinsed (1.5 cups / 300g split red lentils, rinsed well)
  • 8 large garlic cloves (3/4 large onion, about 1.5 cups diced)
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (3 Tbs. butter)
  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with their juice (none)
  • 1.25 – 1.75 tsp. fine salt (salt to taste)
  • 4 slices peeled fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter  + 1 sprig fresh rosemary + 1 bay leaf (none of these, but 3/4 Tbs. turmeric, 1.5 tsp. ground cumin, 1 heaping tsp. yellow mustard seeds, and 3/4 cup chopped cilantro)
  • 10 ounces washed baby spinach (3/4 large bunch of spinach leaves, chopped)
  • 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 2! lemons)

My notes:

I put in a whole long sprig of rosemary. Maybe that’s not what was intended because the soup tasted strongly of rosemary. It was also intensely lemony I thought. Maybe that’s why its name starts with lemon not lentil! Alma wasn’t a big fan (she only had a few bites), but Derek loved it. We served it with Peter Berley’s chickpea scallions pancakes.

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Autumn Soup of Wild Rice, White Beans, and Olives

December 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Fall recipes, Rebecca Wood, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

It seems to be soup season around here.  I picked this recipe (from Rebecca Wood’s cookbook The Splendid Grain) because it called for wild rice, which I almost never use.  Wood says that the flavors in this soup are from the mountains of central Greece, and that the soup has “stellar colors and flavors…. a fantastic play of sweet, sour, salty, and pungent”.   It’s not Autumn any more, but I had a jar of roasted bell peppers in the pantry, and all the other ingredients are reasonably wintery.  If you’re not using jarred bell peppers then you should prepare the peppers a day in advance to give them time to marinate.   Read the rest of this entry »

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