Lent Approved Lentil Soup

Lent Approved Lentil Soup

Do you observe Lent?  I’m not even sure anymore which religions necessarily practice this custom.  I have a handful of friends of different denominations who give up “things” for lent.  I’ve heard about sacrifice of things like snacks, smoking and even their social media accounts.  (The irony is not lost on me that I read about it ON their social media account.)

In some religions, it is to honor the sacrifices that were made for people and to heighten awareness in their faith.  (I could go into more detail but I’m sure I would say something wrong and get an email or hit by lightning.)

Part of the 40-day observance period includes a lot of dietary restrictions.  There are days you fast, days you can’t eat meat and there are some folks who use this time to go completely vegetarian.  As I was “researching” Lenten guidelines, I found out that luxury foods (candy, alcohol, sodas) are technically supposed to be given up too as a basic practice and not included as “what you gave up for lent.”  (Pretty much if you enjoy it, you should have given it up.)

Even though I’m a technical Catholic (someone who was baptized as a baby but doesn’t practice as an adult), I haven’t complied with Lent rules since I was a kid.  I remember it being a big deal to announce what our sacrifice would be and then tattle on each other when we cheated.  (We’d either tell on each other or just taunt the other with a threat that they would burn in hell…you know…the things Catholic siblings do to each other.)

When I got diagnosed with Crohn’s 40 years ago, I remember getting a “get out of lent” free card from my mom.  (And she is a saint so I know it was legitimate.)  I honestly haven’t given it much thought until recently.

I understand the significance of the act but in the olden days, sacrifices were “real” because people had so little.  Now when we say we are giving up meat on Friday, it is pretty simple to find a delicious replacement.  Fish used to be a luxury item and not something that could be eaten between a bun at a fast food restaurant or grabbed in a bento box at the grocery store.

I’d feel like a hypocrite if I tried to dictate what a religion should do or not do since I am not an observer.  If I did make one change, I would want the 40 days of Lent to be spent not thinking of our sacrifices but thinking of what else can we do for others.

Sacrifice some of your time to help someone in need.  Give up making snarky comments and give compliments to a stranger who looks like they are having a bad day.  Run out in the cold to brings someone their sunglasses even if it means you will catch a chill.  Just spend this time thinking of others not because it is Lent but that is because it is what should be done.

I was trying to think of a recipe that would fit this week’s theme and then it came to me….”Lent”il Soup!  Bon Appetit posted this recipe last week and it looked like a great way to make a satisfying meatless dinner.  I adjusted to my likings and things I had on hand but the BA recipe was a good backbone to start.  To honor those of you who are giving up meat, it is vegetarian and for those of you who aren’t….it is delicious!!!!

Lentil Soup (Interpreted from Bon Appetit)

(Printable recipe below)

Ingredients

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

2 Tbsp ginger, chopped finely

5 teaspoons of curry powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (BA went a little spicier but having never made this recipe before I was preceding with caution…you can put more heat in but it is hard to take out.)

1 can of coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 cup lentils (I used a lentil trio of red split, green and black because that as all the stor offered)

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (my store had some finely shredded coconut)

5 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

41 can crushed tomatoes (15 ounce)

4 cups fresh baby spinach

Juice from one lemon

Salt

Olive oil

Plain yogurt (garnish)

Directions

In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.

Add onion and cook, until soft but not browning.

Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 2-4 minutes.

Add curry powder and cayenne.  Cook until spices are sticking to the bottom and you can smell the spices in your soul.  (It should take only a minute or so.)

Add the coconut milk and stir in the spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Add in the lentils, coconut, vegetable broth and water.

Increase heat to bring to a boil.

Reduce heat so it is simmering (I had to play with this quite a bit on my stove but ended at my highest low setting not my lowest medium setting.)

This is where the lentils are cooked and the soup thickeness so let it cook for about 25-30 minutes.

Give it a taste to see the progress of the lentils and if they are done to your liking.  Also this is a good time to season with more salt.  (I did not add it earlier because I wasn’t sure how salty my broth was or how salty it would be when it reduced a little.)

Add your tomatoes.

If you want a smoother soup, use your immersion blender and give it a twirl or too.

Add in your chopped spinach, hit it with some lemon juice, taste for salt and let it cook another 5 minutes.

If you are a vegan, it is ready to serve.

If you aren’t, swirl on some yogurt.

Lent Approved Lentil Soup
 
Based off of a Bon Appetit Vegetarian Coconut Soup recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, chopped finely
  • 5 teaspoons of curry powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (BA went a little spicier but having never made this recipe before I was preceding with caution…you can put more heat in but it is hard to take out.)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup lentils (I used a lentil trio of red split, green and black because that as all the stor offered)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (my store had some finely shredded coconut)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 41 can crushed tomatoes (15 ounce)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Plain yogurt (garnish)
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook, until soft but not browning.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 2-4 minutes.
  4. Add curry powder and cayenne. Cook until spices are sticking to the bottom and you can smell the spices in your soul. (It should take only a minute or so.)
  5. Add the coconut milk and stir in the spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add in the lentils, coconut, vegetable broth and water.
  7. Increase heat to bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat so it is simmering (I had to play with this quite a bit on my stove but ended at my highest low setting not my lowest medium setting.)
  9. This is where the lentils are cooked and the soup thickeness so let it cook for about 25-30 minutes.
  10. Give it a taste to see the progress of the lentils and if they are done to your liking. Also this is a good time to season with more salt. (I did not add it earlier because I wasn’t sure how salty my broth was or how salty it would be when it reduced a little.)
  11. Add your tomatoes.
  12. If you want a smoother soup, use your immersion blender and give it a twirl or too.
  13. Add in your chopped spinach, hit it with some lemon juice, taste for salt and let it cook another 5 minutes.
  14. If you are a vegan, it is ready to serve.
  15. If you aren’t, swirl on some yogurt.