Weekly Food: Lemon Lentil Spinach Soup and Wild Rice Salad
I don’t come from a touchy-feely sort of family, but last week I felt compelled (in the midst of peeling butternut squash and juicing lemons) to call my mother to thank her for cooking healthy meals for us while I was growing up. The impetus: An MPR story on childhood obesity. I realize now what a privilege it was to grow up expecting a home-cooked meal every day — even when my mom was working, grandma would cook for us, or my sister and I would cook with our aunt and serve up meals as part of our favorite game, Starlight Cafe.
My mother’s nonchalant response to this: We lived in the middle of nowhere — where would we have gone out to eat?
True enough. But still, I’m grateful.
And what was I peeling that squash for? Two winner meals this week: a soup and salad that were perfect for the spring weather.
Recipe 1: Lemon Lentil Spinach Soup
This recipe is one of mine:
Lemon Lentil Spinach Soup
Makes 5-6 servings
2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions diced
3 celery ribs diced
2 medium carrots diced
coarse kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 1/2 C red lentils
1/4 C red cooking wine
5 C vegetable broth
3/4 lb baby spinach leaves
juice of 2 lemons
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and carrots, and saute until carrots are tender (about 7 minutes). Use some of the wine for deglazing if necessary.
2. Add garlic, cumin, lemon zest, and a good sprinkling of salt, and saute for about 2 minutes.
3. Add lentils and some more salt and saute for 1 minute more.
4. Add cooking wine and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down head and simmer, covered, until lentils are cooked (about 20 minutes).
5. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted (3-5 minutes).
6. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice.
7. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
I served it with crusty bread and a dollop of cumin yogurt (1 C yogurt + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp ground cumin).
Recipe 2: Warm Wild Rice Salad from Hola Jalapeno
We got our fill of asparagus last week, so I made this with chickpeas instead (also a good way to add protein since we were eating it as a main course). I doubled the recipe and we had so much we were able to eat it every day and still have some leftover to freeze. It was super tasty, but I think I need a break now.
Time: 2 hours
Soundtrack: aforementioned MPR story