Spinach, broccoli and lentil soup with stilton croûtons

Spinach, broccoli and lentil soup with stilton croûtons

By
From
Good Better Green
Serves
4

Green vegetables are so beautiful when puréed or blended! They owe their vibrant colour to chlorophyll, a green pigment instrumental in the process of photosynthesis that has many health benefits when consumed. Usually the colour starts to become faded after exposure to heat for more than 10 minutes. So, to ensure your soup retains its glorious hue, I suggest cooking the lentils separately first, but if this is too much of a faff, just add them to the soup after you have blended it.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g dried green lentils
200g unsmoked bacon rashers
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bay leaf
glug extra virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways and sliced into half-moons
3 celery stalks, trimmed and roughly chopped
320-340g broccoli, stem finely chopped and florets roughly chopped
1.2 litres hot vegetable stock
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed
200g spinach, washed

For the croutons

Quantity Ingredient
150g sourdough bread, cut into cubes
extra virgin olive oil
50-60g stilton or other blue-veined cheese, crumbled
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Soak the lentils in four times their volume of cold water for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C. If using bacon, place a wire rack inside a lipped baking tray and lay the bacon rashers on top. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until crispy around the edges. Remove them using tongs, blot any excess fat with kitchen paper, cut into small strips and set aside.
  3. If cooking the lentils separately (see Introduction above), drain them and put into a small saucepan with double their volume of fresh water, the garlic clove and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until they are just tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pan and gently cook the leeks, celery and broccoli stems until just tender, 5–10 minutes, depending on thickness.
  5. Add the broccoli florets, most of the stock (reserving some to adjust the consistency of the soup at the end) and all the spices. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  6. Stir in half the spinach and remove from the heat as soon as it has wilted. Blend the soup with the remaining spinach until completely smooth.
  7. Return to the pan and add the lentils. If you didn’t cook the lentils separately, simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, or until lentils are just cooked. Adjust the seasoning and add a little more stock if the soup is too thick.
  8. Stir in the bacon, if using, and serve topped with cheesy croûtons.
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