It's hard not to get in the mood for soup with this damp, chilly weather! I've got a yearning for some of my winter comfort foods and lentil soup is high on that list. When I was growing up in Greece, it was customary to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and not eat meat. Maybe that's why traditional Greek cuisine has so many legume-based dishes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans that are perfect for the winter. With such a high content of plant-based protein and fiber, they are both filling and healthy!
These legumes are usually cooked with other vegetables, a generous amount of olive oil, and finished with some vinegar or lemon. We usually eat these soups with a salty accompaniment, like olives, pickles, feta, anchovies…and of course, fresh, crusty bread. My version of lentil soup below uses Sparoza’s cooking blend with spices and orange zest for an Anatolian touch, especially warm and fragrant. Give it a try and tell us what you think!
1 cup lentils
1 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves
1 chopped tomato or 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 tsp of Sparoza’s cooking blend with spices and orange zest
salt and pepper
Put the lentils in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 2-3 minutes, drain the cooking water, rinse off the lentils under the tap, and put them back in the pot, covering well with water.
Add the onion, garlic, tomato, extra virgin olive oil and Sparoza spices.
Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the lentils are soft and the soup is quite thick, usually around an hour or so.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil. Some Greeks like a touch of vinegar, others crumble feta on top. Either way, enjoy!
You can prepare this soup a day before, as the flavors develop and the soup becomes even tastier the day after. For a thicker consistency, you can purée 1/3 cup of the finished soup in a blender and then add back in.
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