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Spinach and Lentil Soup with Aged Provolone Cheese Croutons

Bright lemony and peppery flavors compliment the earthy lentils and spinach. Sprouted lentils, available in health food stores, are more easily digestible and increases vitamins and micronutrients.

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 cup sweet onions, peeled, thin slices, 2″ long

½ cup leeks, cleaned, thinly sliced

4 medium fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 pinch tumeric

2 teaspoons preserved lemons, minced- or 1 t. minced lemon rind and 2 t. lemon juice

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced, or ½ t. dried

1 ½ cups green lentils, preferably sprouted* and cooked

10 oz. organic frozen chopped spinach*, defrosted, or 1 pound fresh (cleaned)

5 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably home made

Aged provolone croutons (see recipe below)

Instructions

1

In a large, heavy soup pot, heat 2 t. extra virgin olive oil. Raise heat to medium, add the mustard seeds, stir. In one minute they will gently pop.

2

Add the onion, leeks and garlic, turn heat down to low, stir for five minutes until translucent, but not colored.

3

Add the tumeric, preserved lemon (or rind and juice), pepper and thyme. Stir for 1 minute to brighten the flavors.

4

Add the cooked lentils and the stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

5

Add the spinach, stir until warmed through, just a minute or two. Immediately puree half of the soup in a blender.
(or carefully using and immersion blender), until thick and creamy.

6

Add back to the pot, stir and serve.

7

Aged Provolone Croutons:
Remove hard bottom crust from 4 medium slices of aged provolone cheese bread*. Cut bread into 1/2″ cubes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

8

Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet with 1T. of your favorite oil and 1t. minced garlic. Gently mix all together.

9

Bake for 10 minutes or so, until deep golden and crisp. Remove from the oven.

* I have used Aged Provolone Bread from The Kneaded Bread, but Whole Food’s Four Cheese Bread is made from scratch as well
and recommended. These are not breads filled with lots of cheese.

 

* Although I praise fresh, local ingredients, this frozen spinach – 365 whole food’s brand was convenient and perfect in this soup.

*Sprouted green lentils are dried lentils that have been germinated (or sprouted) and then dried at low temperatures in order to boost their nutritional profile – increasing vitamins and micronutrients, and activating enzymes that make nutrients easier for your body to absorb. In addition to their health benefits, sprouted lentils are versatile in the kitchen. They cook quickly, in as little as 15 minutes, or they can be simply rehydrated by soaking in warm water for 45 minutes.

 

This recipe may not be reproduced with the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

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