I’m learning pretty quickly that making soup is fun, easy and perfect for a cold day! When I started cooking, I followed my recipes religiously. If I didn’t have an ingredient, the recipe got put away…I mean I couldn’t very well….SUBSTITUTE or anything!! That was just crazy talk!
But soup…soup was made for substitutions. Some of the best soups I’ve tried have been exactly that, full of freedom and lacking restriction!
The freedom is addictive and I’m finding myself getting excited when I start to notice leftover vegetables in my fridge. Enough bits and pieces…and it’s Soup-Time!!
So when I came across this Lentil Soup recipe, I was at that point…not to mention my friend Heather was also drowning in rogue vegetables…so we teamed up, brought our veggies together and made soups. She made a curried veggie soup (that was absolutely awesome!) and I made this lentil soup.
Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.
I don’t have tons of pictures as our soup-making was somewhat fast and furious 🙂 but I was able to catch the basics on camera.
I had never worked with leeks before but they were a nice addition to this soup. Once washed well, I was warned that they tend to hide the dirt, I cut them in half and chopped them into half moons. Then washed them again…just to be sure! 😉
The original recipe I had found called for kale. I have yet to cook with kale so I’m not sure how much I’d like it. My context is somewhat off because all I know about kale is that it was healthy for my bearded dragon and that raw it tasted fairly bitter. Cooked, perhaps it would be different but I still am unsure as I substituted spinach instead.
Once my leeks were washed and chopped, and my garlic cloves were skinned and squished, I placed them in my soup pot with some oil to allow for a light sautéing.
While I allowed the leeks and garlic to saute, I prepped the other additions to my soup. Sweet potatoes are a lovely addition…but a pain in the butt to prep. All that peeling, chopping…and people wonder why I eat boxed potatoes! 😛
I replaced a can of tomatoes with actual tomatoes that we had on hand. I blanched them, in Heather’s simmering curry soup actually, and then peeled off the skins and cut off the stems.
I added them to the leeks and garlic…smushing them with a potato masher and then allowed the mixture to cook for another 5 minutes or so.
At that point, everything else got added, well except for the spinach: sweet potatoes, lentils, thyme, salt pepper, basil, and water. Then, let it simmer away until all is as tender as you wish!
One issue I seem to always have when making soup is that my broth tends to turn out quite watery and boring. I’ve tried adding herbs or spices but there’s always something missing.; a richness to the flavour perhaps that can’t be replaced by simply adding spices.
After my soup had simmered for a bit, I tasted it. It was good. Not great, but good. Heather also tried a bit and agreed that it was good but weak and she suggested adding a bouillon cube. So I did. One little vegetable bouillon cube later and the soup was ten times better! Who would’ve thought that something so simple, could make such a huge difference!
The spinach waited until the very end. When I was satisfied with the tenderness of the veggies, I added the spinach and continued the simmer for another few minutes, just to soften it slightly.
So, one bouillon cube later, I had an awesome pot of soup! Ate some, froze some and started planning for my next soup-extravaganze!
- 4 leeks, white and green parts
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
- 6 tomatoes (or a large can of tomatoes)
- 3 cups of water
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into half moons
- 1/2 cup green lentils
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 tbsp thyme
- fresh basil leaves, 10-12
- Slice each leek in half, and then slice each half in half moons. Be sure to wash the leeks well and remove all dirt and grit. You should have approx 2 cups or so.
- Wash your spinach leaves and slice them into strips.
- In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and then add the leeks and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes, allowing the leeks to began to get tender.
- Either add your can of tomatoes, or in my case, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes. Then slip off the skins and remove the stem. I used a potato masher to smush them in with the leeks. Cook another 5 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil. (The amount of water was dependant on my pot. I could only fit 3 cups but the original recipe called for 6.)
- Stir in sweet potatoes, lentils, thyme, salt pepper, basil, spinach, and allow to simmer until lentils are tender. Approx 30 minutes.