I usually make this with bacon, but I can't eat meat on my current restricted diet, so I've tossed that smoky slab and added some other stuff! I've also almost doubled the original amounts of original recipe - I can't make small batches of soup! I pack it up in plastic containers and take them to work. *Please note that preparation time may vary. I'm a slow chopper and I accounted for that in the given time below!
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil (or thereabouts)
- 1 1⁄2 large onions, chopped fine
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
- 4 celery ribs, chopped medium
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups lentils
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- 8 ounces spinach, baby whole or 8 ounces regular spinach, chopped
- Heat olive oil at medium-high heat.
- Add onions, carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften (4-8 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).
- Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme; cook until fragrant (30 seconds).
- Stir in lentils, salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened *7-10 minutes).
- Uncover, add vegetable broth and water.
- Bring to a boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low.
- Simmer until lentils are tender but not mushy (30-35 minutes).
- Discard bay leaf.
- Puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return puree to pot.
- Stir in spinach until wilted.
- Serve! (or place in plastic containers for work!).