Lentil Soup with Roasted Root Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Ahh, the dreariness of the recent weather here at home is enough to put anyone to sleep. It’s so hard to feel motivated enough even to make dinner when it’s like that. It makes me just want to curl up on the couch and have someone bring me something good to eat. Luckily, I had some cooked lentils leftover from another dish we had made recently so I decided to make a soup.

I thought roasted root vegetables would go nicely with this, as more of a “garnish” than something you would cook into the soup itself. I planned in advance to use the roasted vegetables, but adding the goat cheese was a last minute decision. It gives it a nice tang to counter the earthy flavors. This is a really warm and comforting soup.

2 cups cooked green/french lentils
3 cups chicken/vegetable broth
1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs thyme
salt
pepper
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large sweet potato, chopped into cubes
3 parsnips, chopped into cubes
1/2 butternut/acorn/kabocha squash, chopped into cubes
Goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium dutch oven (or heavy bottom pot) on medium/high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and a pinch of salt and sautee until tender (5-7 minutes). Add garlic and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add lentils, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, cumin, coriander, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir together and then add in broth. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to let all of the flavors incorporate. Once the soup is done, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Then squeeze about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in. Add a little more if you feel that it needs more. The lemon juice really brings some life to the soup. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. (it depends on how much sodium is in your broth)

Meanwhile, toss the squash, sweet potato, and parsnips with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 20-30 minutes until golden and fully cooked. Toss the vegetables around halfway through the cooking process.

Ladel into bowls, place about 2 tablespoons of the roasted vegetables in the middle and top with a little bit of crumbled goat cheese.

Homemade Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian restaurants are nowhere to be found in Greensboro so we decided to make our own. It my was my husband Mark’s idea to do it. We’ve made the red lentil dish in the past thanks to some Ethiopian spices that were given to us by my aunt and uncle’s housekeeper Mimi (in Lebanon). But Mark wanted to go all out with the full deal, so that’s what we did. We made the traditional Injera bread, yellow split peas, red lentils (recipe below), and Ethiopian collard greens (Gomen). The injera was really bitter in the beginning and we had to add some salt, sugar, and lemon juice to help the bitterness. Apparently the recipe calls for you to make the batter 3 days in advance and let it sit and ferment. We didn’t want to wait that long so Mark found a recipe that has you add yeast and just wait 1 day. Our injera was much darker than the injera we have had at Ethiopian restaurants. Maybe they mix all purpose flour with the teff flour (which is what we used)? If anyone has a good recipe for teff let us know!

The collards and red lentils were delish. The yellow split peas were good but had a little too much salt and turmeric. We followed the recipe to a “T” so next time we’d just put less salt and turmeric.

It was fun to explore cooking the Ethiopian food and we’ll definitely do it again! Share some other recipes if you have them!

The Misir Wat (red lentils) recipe is as follows:

1 cup split red lentils (rinsed well)

1 inch of ginger grated

2 cloves garlic grated

1 cup minced red onion

2-3 teaspoons Indian spice mix (Berberé)

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the lentils cook quicker, soak them in water for about half an hour (if you don’t have time to soak don’t worry about it). Heat up olive oil and add onions. Sautee for a  few minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sautee about 30 seconds. Add in lentils, spice mix (the amount depends on how spicy you like it), salt, and pepper and mix all together. After mixed, add about 3 cups of water and cook covered for about 20-30 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes or so. If you soak the lentils you may need a little less water. But just keep an eye on it.  Once done, taste and add salt/pepper if needed. If the lentils are not done then continue to add water until they are cooked. Ours ended up a little mushy in the end which I liked. Another version of this recipe has you add some tomato paste/sauce to it. That version is good too.

Here are links to the other recipes:

Collard Greens

Yellow split peas

Injera