Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Red Lentil Soup with Mint and Beet Greens

Today was One of Those Days. I worked in a frenzy all day, trying to meet deadlines and trying not to look out the window at the Beautiful Weather.

Then when work let out, I took my two-year-old for a walk around the lake. I completely misjudged both the temperature (it was Hot) and my daughter's ability to sit in the carriage for any length of time so I can get in some brisk walking (she can't).

By the time I reached the end of our just-barely-45 minute walk, toting my 30 pound baby in one arm and pushing a stroller with the other, I was hot and cranky. That was when we passed a female jogger. I'm all for staying cool in the summer, but there do have to be some boundaries. She was wearing Very Little. My daughter said it better than I could have (and certainly louder too): "Mommy. Naked lady!"

The point is, I needed some therapy this evening. For me, therapy arrived in the form of a CSA basket loaded with beets and greens.

As soon as I got my very tactful baby into bed, I set right to work scrubbing, soaking, roasting, chopping. Am I the only one who finds gritty beets (with their greens still attached!!) beautiful? Am I the only one who finds chopping and cleaning greens therapeutic?

This soup was a combination of lots of wonderful fresh ingredients that I've been wanting to put to use. The beet greens, of course, but also a lovely Vidalia onion and some super pretty red lentils I bought last week.

And a few sprigs of the abundant mint I have growing on my patio.

It was fresh and exquisitely flavored. Paired with a whole wheat pita bread, it made a satisfying dinner. I think I'm on the road to recovery.

Red Lentil Soup with Mint and Beet Greens
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
a dozen or so mint leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coriander
beet greens, removed from one bunch of beets (use the beets for something else), cleaned and sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup bulgur wheat
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra mint, for garnish, optional

Heat the oil in a medium soup pot. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, till translucent. Add the garlic and celery and cook for a few minutes longer, stirring frequently.

Now, add the mint, salt, and coriander. Mix well and cook for another minute or two.

Add the beet greens and cook for a few minutes till they are softened and heated through.

Add the lentils, bulgur and about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a very gentle simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding water as needed if it seems too thick.

After the 1/2 hour of cooking, add the tomato and cook for about 10 minutes longer.

Immediately before serving, whisk in the egg. Serve, garnished with mint if desired.


  1. I'm glad you were able to get some "me" time in! Sometimes that is all it takes - a few good beets and greens to feel a little less stressed.

  2. Lentil soup is one of my family's favorite dinners (even with the kids). Yours sounds wonderful and I love seeing you use the beet greens! I love all greens, but hate to see the beet tops thrown out.

  3. What a lovely healthy soup - I just picked up my CSA box - no beet greens, but I got some bok choy and spinach.

  4. What a wonderful variety of ingredients. This recipe sounds healthy and delicious!

  5. Sorry about the rough day. Tomorrows are always better.

  6. Ah, that soup sounds so comforting... Especially after a rough day. I could certainly go for a bowlful myself about now.

    Hope you're feeling better today, though. :)

  7. I like that you're using something I am not familiar with- beet. I will try it. :-)

  8. Soup has an amazing ability to cheer you up, no matter what season! I've got to say this soup is a grand idea and the way you used the egg, very cool. I may riff on it for my Monday Soup Project. Thanks for sharing. Love the pictures, too.

  9. This soup sounds wonderful . . . Maybe I will make some for Shabbos, although I think I will use spinach instead of beet greens.

    I have been trying to meet a deadline, too, and my computer was frozen this morning for two of the four hours I had before I had to get my daughter from school--argh!

    The past two days have been gorgeous, but HUMID. I also went for a walk yesterday (I had the brilliant idea to walk my daughter home from school) and it was really, really hot.

  10. I love red lentils! What a healthy, soothing soup =)

  11. Even when it's INSANELY hot out, I still remain fully clothed while running. I've run in a sports bra exactly once and I felt so uncomfortable that I will never ever do it again. I was pretty sure I was going to be mauled the entire time.

    I LOVE this soup! CSA therapy is the best kind, don't you think?

  12. I am not used to cooking with beets but i need to get used to it because of soups like this! It looks fantastic

  13. I'm serioiusly thinking of doing a version of this on my blog for Monday--so you think quinoa would work as well as bulger and could you cook it for a little longer and use French lentils? Thanks for checking out my soup recipe, I've been experimenting a lot with cashew cream.

  14. I'm totally sold on this! I love the ingredient combination....mmmm!

  15. Mmmm---you always have great foodie photos. Makes me want to cook something right now. ;) Thanks for sharing!

  16. Never added beet greens to a lentil dish.. very different and I am sure tastes great too... loves beets and I'll have to give this a try while I still can get hold of the fresh ones...


  17. We all have days like that and a nice bowl of soup and quality time in the kitchen is the best remedy for it. Looks delicious!

  18. This sounds so warming and comforting, and so good for you too! Thank you for sharing your delicious soup with Let's Do Brunch. Hope to 'see' you there again this week!

  19. Beet greens are one of my favorite foods of all time, and I've never thought to combine them with red lentils. I might make a pot of this for lunch today, since I have all the ingredients on hand. Nice work with the photography, too!

  20. hate preparing greens but love beetroots - the soup sounds wonderful and your kid's comment about the naked lady made me laugh and I am sure will keep amusing me when I next seen joggers


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