This easy lentil soup with spinach makes a nutrient-rich plant-based meal that’s also freezer-friendly.
If you’re trying to cut down on your meat consumption – or make more budget-friendly meals – lentils are the way to go. They’re super affordable, and they’re so versatile you’ll have no trouble finding new ways to use them.
Why We Love Lentils
These little legumes have a ton of benefits! Several members of the Green Child team follow a flexitarian diet, and beans help us provide filling meals without serving a large amount of meat.
Lentils are budget-friendly
This year at the virtual ShiftCon event, Nzingah Oniwosan and Tasha Edwards led a panel discussing how plant-based doesn’t have to equal privilege. Many people fall into the mistaken impression that you have to spend a fortune to eat healthily, but in reality, some of the healthiest foods are affordable. Most beans fall into this category – especially when you buy them in bulk.
Lentils are rich in fiber and minerals
Lentils are an edible seed in the legume family. They’re high in protein, fiber, and folate. Lentils are considered a top “functional food” due to their high nutritive value, polyphenols, minerals, and other bioactive compounds. While they’re known for providing protein and fiber, their polyphenol content is becoming the focus of ongoing research, since polyphenols are know play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases. (Source)
Lentils are a staple in the diets of people who live a long time
Beans are a big part of the diets in Blue Zones. Beans are the cornerstone of every Blue Zones diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa. The long-lived populations in these Blue Zones eat at least four times as many beans as we do, on average. One five-country study found that eating 20 grams of beans daily reduced a person’s risk of dying in any given year by about 8%.
How to Make Nourishing Lentil Soup
You can use brown or green lentils in this soup. They’re the most popular types. Many people like red lentils but they tend to get mushy in this type of soup.
The type of broth you use is up to you (veggie or chicken). This lentil soup is full of flavor, plus your house will smell amazing as it simmers.
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the red pepper, onion, carrot, and celery to the pot. Cook until onion is translucent (about 6 minutes).
Stir in the minced garlic, oregano, bay leaf, basil, salt, & pepper and cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes). Add the can of tomatoes, dried lentils, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1.5 hours or until the lentils are soft. Optional: add broth to get the desired consistency for your soup.
Right before serving add in the spinach and lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste.
This soup will nourish you from the inside out on a chilly day and pairs wonderfully with a crusty bead.
Let us know how your family likes it!
Nourishing Lentil Soup with Spinach
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 tsp red pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp basil
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
- 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil.
- Add the red pepper, onion, carrot, and celery to the pot.
- Cook until onion is translucent (about 6 minutes).
- Stir in the minced garlic, oregano, bay leaf, basil, salt, & pepper and cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes).
- Add the can of tomatoes, dried lentils, broth, and water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1.5 hours or until the lentils are soft.
- Optional add broth to get the desired consistency for your soup.
- Right before serving add in the spinach and lemon juice.
- Add additional salt & pepper to taste.