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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.