Who would have thought that I would grow up to actually like lentil soup! Wasn’t this dish the nightmare of all Greek kids (bean soup, too)? It’s not really that I hated it as a kid but like it, I did not! I’ll blame it on my mum. She used way too much tomato paste and way too much onion was swimming in it plus the oregano which she added while the soup was still cooking –not a great idea for this dish. So, here’s my version, simple and tasty with soy sauce today instead of the more traditional tomato sauce. As for the family tastometer (yes, I just made this word up), I will not say that my kids have a party when we have lentil soup but they do eat it without complaints. It’s good for the kids to be occasionally reminded that good food nourishes our bodies and keep us strong and healthy.
- 500 grams lentils (a bag of lentils, that is)
- 1 big onion peeled, whole
- 3 garlic cloves peeled, whole
- 3 bay leaves (fresh or dry)
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1/3 or less cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup (or to taste) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomate paste (optional)
How to make: Rinse the lentils, boil them in water for about 5-10 minutes. Strain the lentils to get rid of the dirty water and put them again in the pot. Fill with water just enough to cover them or more if you want them more soupy. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper, olive oil, soy sauce and cook for another 10-20 minutes, depending on the lentils. Some cook faster than others. Do taste the soup to get the taste to be where you like it and add more salt, pepper, olive oil or soy sauce as needed. If you want a darker color add a little tomato paste. If you want a fiber blast dish, add some oatmeal grains. They will absorb some water if the soup is ready but there’s still too much water for your taste. When ready, remove the onion, garlic and bay leaves and serve with toasted bread.
Notes and tips: When you put the lentils in water for the second time, always start with just enough water to cover them. You can add more hot water if they need more to soften. Adding water gradually will help the lentils thicken the soup so you won’t end up having lentils swimming in thin water. Also, I find that the lentils in the US soften really fast. You may only need to cook them for a total of 20 minutes. Adding water gradually, if needed, and checking to see when they are soft is the best guide.