Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So NOT Soup Weather

It's a been a steamy past few days here in Toronto, and I know the last thing you want is a bowl of hot soup to make you even hotter. But trust me; this is worth the pain. In the scorching feels-like-41-degree weather during the middle of this week, we made a soup so delicious that is was worth the minor discomfort of eating hot foods on a hot day.

Here's the story: I wanted to make this soup when I first saw the post. I love lentil, I love beans and I wanted an excuse to use my hot smoked paprika again. Then, I saw this lovely spring minestrone and I was intrigued by the addition of fresh pesto stirred into the soup at the very end to give it body and a kick of flavour. My idea to combine the two soups came when I was staring into the fridge at some leftover pesto I had made (which by the way, is so much better when you make it yourself!) and wanting to do something with a beautiful bunch of spinach that was sitting in the crisper. It worked out beautifully. It was a great way to use up a few purple potatoes I had hanging around for a couple of weeks, plus use some of Ontario's first batch of spring asparagus.

This soup is the perfect opportunity to experiment with different vegetables. I don't think you could mess it up, even if you wanted to! It's hearty with beautiful earthy lentils and chickpeas -- winter staples that you probably still have hanging around, but also fresh and spring-y from the veggies and fresh herbs. Whatever you do, don't skip the pesto. It's the secret that makes this soup a definite winner.

Spring-Winter Minestrone
inspired by kickpleat on poppytalk and Simple Recipes

1 medium carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
a handful of button mushrooms, sliced
a handful of baby potatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon of hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup of green lentils, rinsed
1/2 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cups of water or vegetable stalk, plus more if needed
a small bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
a small bunch of asparagus, trimmed and halved
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of fresh pesto

1. In a large pot, sweat the onions, garlic, carrots and celery with some olive oil for about 5 minutes until they start to get soft and fragrant. Season and add dried oregano and smoked paprika.

2. Add the mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas and give it a good stir. Add the stalk and bring up to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost tender.

3. Add the asparagus and put the lid on for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the chopped spinach. Simmer, uncovered for 10 more minutes, or until the asparagus and potatoes and fully tender and the liquid has reduced.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the pesto. Serve with something over ice!


  1. This soup looks great! It's funny though, its totally soup weather where I live, I'll have to make this one!
    I love the idea of the pesto, yum!

  2. thanks ursula! i was totally thinking of you and how it's soup weather where you are! :) I hope you try it. it's super yummy!