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Lentil and Spinach Soup with Roasted Red Pepper and Pomegranate Molasses

Becky Luigart-Stayner
Yield 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup soup, 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, and about 1 tablespoon roasted red bell pepper)
Spinach, plus garnishes of roasted red pepper and pomegranate molasses, enrich this satisfying Mediterranean soup with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, anthocyanins, and lutein/zeaxanthin.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups diced Japanese eggplant (about 2)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
  • 4 cups less-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced bottled roasted red bell pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 224
  • caloriesfromfat 8 %
  • fat 2 g
  • satfat 0.3 g
  • monofat 1.3 g
  • polyfat 0.3 g
  • protein 13.3 g
  • carbohydrate 40 g
  • fiber 7 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 5.1 mg
  • sodium 563 mg
  • calcium 57 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place first 5 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Set lentils aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°.

  3. Place the eggplant, onion, and thyme in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with oil; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup broth; bake 10 minutes. Discard thyme; add eggplant mixture to lentils.

  4. Stir in remaining 3 cups broth and parsley; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add spinach; stir gently until spinach wilts. Stir in salt and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, and top with about 1 tablespoon roasted red bell pepper.

  5. Wine Note: One wine works well with the earthy, bitter, and sweet flavors in this soup: pinot noir. Good pinot noir demonstrates an earthiness of its own, plus an attractive bitterness and a "sweet spot" of cherry-pomegranate fruitiness. Try Pedroncelli "F. Johnson Vineyard" 2003 from Sonoma County, California ($15). -Karen MacNeil