Pursuit of Happiness Red Lentil Soup with Spinach, Mint and Pepita Pesto
Pursuit of Happiness Red Lentil Soup with Spinach, Mint and Pepita Pesto I have not one but two lentil soup recipes in Feeding the Hungry Ghost, one basic and one scented with Indian spices. I have a recipe I posted on my website last week. But lentils aren't just sustainable, they're incredibly versatile, so here’s a brand new lentil soup recipe. Made with red lentils, which cook up in no time, it’s rosy, mellow and velvety and topped with a zing of spinach pesto (nice tossed with pasta, by the way).
For the red lentil soup:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 cup red lentils picked over and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour lupin flour or whole wheat flour
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons quinoa or millet
- sea salt to taste plus extra chopped spinach and mint leaves for serving
For spinach, mint and pepita pesto:
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup pepitas pumpkin seeds, toasted and cooled
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- sea salt to taste
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the minced onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the red lentils and stir, so they get the luster from the oil, then the bean or whole flour. Give everything a quick stir so the mixture forms a paste.
Pour in the vegetable broth. Stir in till everything coalesces and becomes smooth. Heat to a gentle boil. Add the pinch of saffron, which needs to bloom in hot liquid, then stir in the tomato paste, paprika, pepper flakes and quinoa or millet.
Stir occasionally until soup returns to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium. Let it cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Soup will have thickened and turned creamy.
To make the pesto, whiz the mint, spinach, pepitas and garlic together in a food processor until they form a bright green paste. With the food processor motor running, pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. You’re done. Season to taste with sea salt.
To serve, place a handful of chopped spinach and mint leaves at the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle in the hot lentil soup. Top with a dollop of pesto.