This is a two-bean vegetarian version (except for the optional yogurt) of one of my mother’s multi bean soups she used to make on winter weekends. She used chicken stock, but this is unnecessary because the spices provide the heavy lifting in this dish.
Lentil beans come in a variety of colors and sizes. This recipe calls for red lentils because they lose their shape and ‘mush’ up a bit, allowing the garbanzo beans to supply the texture. You can also use green lentils for a more rustic dish, although cooking times may need to be increased.
- 2 cups dried red lentils – rinsed
- 1 can of garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 onion – chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – grated into paste
- 2 plum tomatoes – chopped
- 5 oz baby spinach – chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
- 1 quart of water (or more for desired thickness)
Sauté the onion in a soup pan until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add the tomato, bay leaf, and spices and stir until fragrant. Add the lentils and stir to coat. Add water and bring just to boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pan, cooking for ten minutes. Stir the pot and add more water if too thick. Then add the rinsed garbanzo beans, stir, cover, and simmer on low heat for another ten minutes. Stir in the spinach and continue to cook until wilted – about 5 more minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and stir in the yogurt and the lemon juice. Serve alongside a salad and some hearty bread.
Optional addition just before serving – chopped cilantro.