Monday, February 10, 2014

Asparagus, Lentil & Mushroom Soup

I love this simple Asparagus, Lentil & Mushroom soup! I've made it 5 or 6 times in the last month, varying the spices, and the amount of heat.  It makes a wonderfully satisfying winter lunch - the lentils provide a low-fat protein and fiber hit, the asparagus offers a contrasting freshness, and the mushrooms round out the flavor with a warm earthiness.  Considering the 10 inches of rain we've had over the past 5 days here in Marin County, this soup delivers comfort without a lot of calories, perfect for a few quiet days indoors.

I've made it with and without fresh thyme, and used a variety of spices - ground cumin and coriander, a Bengali spice mix called Panch Phoron (cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard and Nigella seeds),  cumin and mustard seeds. I've added heat with chili-garlic sauce, jalapenos, and cayenne pepper. I've used Trader Joe's steamed lentils and also cooked dried lentils.  In the picture above, I used the tiny black "caviar" lentils (simply boil in water for 25 minutes until almost tender).

My staples for this recipe are lemon juice, sherry vinegar, tomato paste (I keep a tube by the stove for soups) and a couple of chopped olives to add richness.  Fresh spinach would also be a worthy addition.

I love the combination of asparagus and lentils. For a salad version see my Lentil & Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts. Enjoy!

Asparagus, Lentil & Mushroom Soup:

1 TBS olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin (or try combinations discussed above)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp butter (or fav vegan substitute)
1 cup asparagus (thick ends removed, chopped into 1/2 inch rounds)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 cup cooked lentils
24 oz vegetable stock
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
3 olives, finely chopped
1 tsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook the chopped shallot and minced garlic for 2 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander and cook 30 seconds, stirring well.  Add the butter, melt, and add the chopped asparagus with a couple of grinds of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, stir well, cover and cook 2 minutes.  Add the cooked lentils and vegetable stock, partially cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and add the tomato paste, chili garlic sauce, chopped olives and sherry vinegar. Let the soup cook for 8-10 minutes over low heat, so it is just bubbling. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Enjoy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asparagus and lentils looks like an amazing combination. Will definitely give it a try.

5:05 PM  

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