I got the idea for this recipe in a little book called Easy Beans by Trish Ross and Jacquie Trafford that a friend loaned me.
I changed the recipe by adding different veggies. Of course it had to have smokey eggplant, who doesn't love that? And the spices had to be bolder. I changed the original recipe quite a bit, actually, so I finally changed the title, too. But making changes is what soup is all about. Soup should spotlight place and season.
Make your own changes. Keep keep it fresh and local.
Carrots pulled fresh from the ground by Kia Armstrong at Nash's Organic Produce.
Garlic ready for braiding by JoanE MacIntire of Rent's Due Ranch in Stanwood.
And eggplant, these specimins are from the Fry Family Farm.
It's definitely eggplant season in the Northwest.
To grill it:
Slice it into 1/2 inch slices, grill basting with an Italian dressing. It cooks in about 10 minutes.
Make enough for this soup of the week.
Lentil Soup with Smoky Eggplant
1 1/2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup red lentils
2 carrots, sliced
4 cups water or soup stock
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons or 1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 to 2 cups coconut, soy or rice milk1 medium eggplant, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 bunch chopped spinach or other dark greens
Zest of 1 lemon, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks (optional)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add oil, then onions and stir and cook until they soften. Add garlic. Stir and cook onions until they begin to brown.
2. Add lentils, carrots, water or stock, pepper and cumin to a soup pot Bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until red lentils and vegetables are soft.
3. Stir in coconut milk, grilled eggplant, spinach and lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh Mozzarella and cilantro.
Sometimes a photo shoot doesn't exactly go as planned. Please stare at the soup.