To everything, there is a season. Everything except lentils, which are timeless. Depending on what you have on hand, and what you find at the farmers' market, you can pair lentils with acorn squash, or tomatoes, or mint, or fresh green peas. Or you can make this Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta using ingredients you probably keep in your pantry all year round. Lemon, feta and thyme (or oregano), the classic Greek seasonings, all play off the earthy lentils; you can omit the cheese and substitute homemade mushroom broth for the chicken stock to make this vegan. Lentil soup freezes beautifully, so make a big pot on the weekend, and portion it out for lunches or worknight dinners. Serve with a hunk of crusty bread and a light green salad on the side.
Greek lentil soup with red pepper and feta
Serves 6; can be multiplied.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1-1/2 cups brown lentils
1 Tbsp Greek seasoning
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp tomato paste
7-8 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
Zest of 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese (I use fat-free feta), to taste
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and red pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown. Stir in the lentils, Greek seasoning, thyme and tomato paste. Then, add 7 cups of the stock, reserving one cup.
Increase the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour.
If the lentils are not yet soft and too much liquid has been absorbed to allow them to finish cooking, add the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock. Also, at this time stir in the lemon zest and feta. Taste, and season with kosher salt and lots of fresh black pepper.
Cover the pot, and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not completely mushy.
Serve hot, with additional crumbled feta on the side. Or, allow the soup to cool completely, then refrigerate in air-tight containers, or freeze.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker lentil and brown rice soup with preserved lemons and garlic sausage
Lentil noodle soup
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Armenian red lentils and bulgur
Red lentil, spinach and feta salad
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Warm green lentil salad with caramelized onions, feta cheese, and pears, from Andrea Meyers
Lentil meatballs with lemon pesto, from Meatballs & Milkshakes
Lentil and barley Greek-style salad with tomatoes, feta, and capers, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mujaddara (Lebanese lentils and rice with garlic-lemon sauce), from Healthy. Delicious.
Greek red lentil soup with lemon, rosemary and feta cheese, from Eat Me, Delicious
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