Here's a simple lentil soup that (I hope) will wow you. Believe it or not, it comes from the basic Betty Crocker cookbook, with a couple of tiny adjustments. Lentil-Spinach Soup 2 medium onions, sliced 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 Tablespoons olive oil 6 cups water 1 teaspoon salt 1-1/4 cups lentils (uncooked, dry) zest of one lemon* juice of one lemon* (2 Tablespoons or more) 10 ounces chopped spinach or (easier) one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed Cook and stir onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, until the onions are tender. Stir in water, salt, and lentils. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and spinach. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes more to cook the spinach. Great with a crusty bread. *I like to use the whole lemon because if I measure a smaller amount of zest, peel, or juice and set the rest aside, I tend to forget about that lemon and it goes bad in the back of my refrigerator. Plus, I think you can never have too much lemony zing. So why not use it all? Oh, and I probably don't need to say it, but just in case you're like me, don't use bottled lemon juice for this, and don't skip the zest. I made both of these mistakes once when in a hurry. It just doesn't taste the same. Without the fresh lemon, and of course, the garlic, this delicate soup is blah.
Lentil Bulgur Salad
Lentil Bulgur Salad
This grain salad is a glorious blend of many of our favorite ingredients: parsley, olive oil, garlic, and the perfect twist of lemony zest. Served as an appetizer or as the centerpiece of a light supper menu, you’ll love the versatility of flavors and textures this high-protein salad offers.
1 c. green or brown lentils
1 bay leaf
3/4 c. fine or medium bulgur
5 scallions, including some of the green tops, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of two lemons
6-9 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. mild paprika
2 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. chopped fresh mint (or 2 T. dried)
In a saucepan cover lentils with water, add bay leaf, and about half a teaspoon of salt. Bring the lentils to a boil, then lower heat, and cook them until they’re tender but firm, about 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, put the bulgur in a bowl and pour in just enough boiling water to cover the grains. Let it stand for 20-30 minutes, until the grains have absorbed the water and are tender.
In a separate deep bowl, whisk together the scallions, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, paprika, and about a teaspoon of salt.
When the lentils are tender-firm, drain off the excess water (if any) and add the hot beans to the dressing. Pour off or press out any remaining water from the bulgur and add it along with the parsley and mint.
Toss all the ingredients gently and season to taste with salt and pepper.