Confession: Other than this Greek Lentil Soup, I’ve never had a Greek Soup. Have you?
Mind you, I don’t get out to restaurants often, and haven’t ever had vegan greek food. So, I guess it stands to reason that I wouldn’t have had a vegan greek soup.
So, how did this Greek Lentil Soup come about? Basically, I had a hankering to create a new lentil soup recipe that featured some of those key ingredients in Greek cuisine that I (we!) love.
So, I got to playing in the kitchen. Lentils and white beans and lots of robust seasonings. The base of the soup came together beautifully. Magically! Delicious! #yay!
Except for the olives. I couldn’t figure how to incorporate them into the soup – and they had to be there! I didn’t want them simmering in the soup and losing that pungent intensity.
First I just popped some sliced olives on top of our individual servings. Then I realized that would waaaaay more interesting with some lemon zest and chopped tomatoes. And then I realized it would seem waaaaay more fancy with a name like gremolata.
The soup is great on its own, but quite extraordinary with the gremolata topping. But you don’t have to call it gremolata, you can call it ‘that tasty stuff that goes on top’. 😬Whatever works.
On to the recipe! Let me know how you like it, kids!
Greek Lentil and White Bean Soup with Olive and Tomato Gremolata
- splash water
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 3 - 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans 2 to puree, then remaining to add later
- 1 medium/large cloves garlic reserve to grate later; see note
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 -1 tsp lemon zest
- gremolata garnish : see note
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or 1-2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp finely chopped kalamata or dry cured olives for garnish
- 3-4 tbsp finely chopped tomatoes for garnish
Add the water to a soup pot over medium-high heat. Then, add the onion, celery, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir through, cover, and let cook 5-6 minutes, stirring once. Add lentils, water, and 2 cups of the white beans. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the gremolata garnish. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, parsley, olives, and tomatoes. Stir through and set aside. After the soup has simmered, turn off heat. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Once smooth, stir in remaining white beans, along with grating in the clove of garlic (using a kitchen rasp is easiest), and add the lemon juice and zest. Stir through. Taste test, and add any additional salt/pepper as desired. Serve, topping each portion with a few teaspoons of the gremolata.
Note: When I make this soup, our kiddos love the soup but are NOT fans of the gremolata. So, instead, top their soups with a sprinkle of nutty parmesan or straight-up nutritional yeast!
Garlic Note: I like the punch of garlic added to the end of this soup. But, if you prefer to cook the garlic, simply add it earlier in the cooking along with the onion and celery, taking care not to let it scorch. You can use 2 cloves if cooking earlier as the flavor will mellow with cooking.
photo credit: Nicole Axworthy, adashofcompassion.com