Let's Get A Little Rustic...
...and fall into spring with a Thyme Lentil and Kale Soup paired with a Strawberry Feta Spring Salad and Homemade Banana Bread. Throw in some crusty, artisan bread. It's all good.
It's a little bit of an odd pair at first glance, but transitioning from fall to spring led to this hearty soup with a light, refreshing salad and a lovely banana bread family recipe (gluten-free with oat flour). We utilized what we had picked up at the market and had in the test kitchen to come up with this recipe to make this relatively inexpensive meal that lasted us a couple of days. Probably a really good winter idea! And the great thing about soups as we have started to experiment with them...is that you don't really need a recipe..BUT we'll guide you to getting started and what we did at least!
The flavor notes of this soup started with sauteed onions, garlic, celery and carrots. And we just kept building on the flavor with tomato paste and later a low-sodium vegetable broth. We had some fresh thyme cut left, and decided that would be our primary herb for the soup which soon paired with half a lemon, two bay leaves, oregano freshly cracked black and red pepper to later cumin and/or chili powder(some of which are composed of cumin and oregano already!) which added a more Mediterranean and Indian taste. We topped it off with some fresh avocados, feta and more cracked pepper.
The salad was quite simple as well with a mix of baby spinach, green and red lettuces, red swiss chard, arugula and frisee topped with strawberries and freshly crumbled feta, and tossed in a minty lemongrass + fig vinaigrette that we are still mastering! We got the lemongrass mint vinegar from 41 OLIVE (highly recommend checking them out!) that we are kind of in love with - especially because of its unique, minty, cool aftertaste. Ahhh....
Anyways, here's the 411...guidelines at least:
Thyme Lentil and Kale Soup
(If memory serves us correctly...)
1 cup - lentils
2-3 stalks of kale - chopped ( you can always add more)
7 cups - Broth/stock of choice ( we used low-sodium vegetable broth)
2 tbsp - tomato paste ( or to taste)
1 diced onion
3-5 minced cloves of garlic
1 finely diced carrot
1/2-1 finely diced stalk of celery
1/2 lemon (juice+ rind)
1/2-1 tomato (diced or halves)
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
~ 2 tsp cumin, oregano, chili powder ( season to your taste buds - we added probably close to 2.5 tsp or more of cumin )
olive oil, salt, fresh cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper
Optional: 3 slices of avocado, feta cheese crumble ( we like getting the block of feta and crumbling it as we go) to garnish
Once everything is prepped, heat up a decent pour of olive oil (we'll say about 3-4 tbsp) in a med.-large soup pot and saute your onions and garlic first until they start to become translucent. Add your carrots and celery next and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (~4 minutes we'll say). Lower heat a tad and stir in your tomato paste and let sit for maybe...2-3 minutes. Pour the stock and add the rest of the ingredients except the cumin and chili powder ( you can always add whatever else you would like to your soup here too!) and let simmer for about 45 minutes ( you can leave it longer, the flavor and texture will change. If you want a thicker soup, you can leave it longer. If you want a smoother soup, you can always puree it after). Season to taste with the cumin, salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs, bay leaves and lemon rind( or keep the rind if you want it more citrus-y) when done. Ta-da! Done (and you had a 45 minute break!).
The biggest thing here is just prepping everything before hand, but once that's done with, it's pretty easy-going from then on.
Well, happy prepping and simmering!
Salt and Cinnamon