Lentil and Spinach Soup with Roasted Red Pepper and Pomegranate Molasses
Spinach, plus garnishes of roasted red pepper and pomegranate molasses, enrich this satisfying Mediterranean soup with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, anthocyanins, and lutein/zeaxanthin.
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- Calories: 224
- Calories from fat: 8%
- Fat: 2g
- Saturated fat: 0.3g
- Monounsaturated fat: 1.3g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
- Protein: 13.3g
- Carbohydrate: 40g
- Fiber: 7g
- Cholesterol: 0.0mg
- Iron: 5.1mg
- Sodium: 563mg
- Calcium: 57mg
- 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
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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