Serves 6 to 8
Total time: 1 hour || Active time: 15 minutes
I’m not one of those people who freezes soup, although I do occasionally try to be one of those people, and then find the poor victim in the back of the freezer way too late. To avoid that tragedy, I’m usually simmering up a pot a few times a week, and there is almost always a lentil variety in the mix. It’s flexible and easy and takes to new flavors like a champ, so I’m always tinkering.
I rendevous with all manner of lentil; de puy, black lentils, red, you name it. But I always come back to the basic, dependable and oh-so-flavorful brown lentil. It’s my little black dress. And they’re like, what, $1.50 a pound, even for organic? That’s lentils for weeks, my friends.
This week, I had a windfall of smoked paprika. It’s one of those spices I love, but they don’t sell it where I usually do my shopping, and if I don’t make a special spice trip, the jar can languish empty for months. So when I picked up a beautiful fragrant baggy, I wanted to make up for lost time and use it in copious amounts. Add to that the scrumptious kalamata olives I had leftover, and some baby spinach that was dying to be used, and there you have it! A lush, flavorful, healthful soup that was just amazing served with a crusty baguette smeared with homemade hummus.
~ Since olives are salty, wait until after adding them to decide if you need more salt.
~ You can use hot smoked paprika instead of sweet, but do remember that it’s hot! So your soup is gonna’ be spicy. Start with a tablespoon and go from there.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 cup dried brown lentils (or green lentils)
5 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 24 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
4 cups fresh baby spinach (or chopped spinach)
3/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onions in oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 15 seconds or so, then mix in the thyme and paprika.
Add the lentils, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are almost tender. Add the tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with your hands to get them into small pieces, as you add them. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for another 20 minutes or so, or until lentils are very tender. Add spinach and olives and stir frequently until spinach is wilted and velvetty. Add water to thin, if necessary.
Taste for salt, and let sit for 10 minutes or so for flavors to marry, then serve!