At first I wasn't sure if I liked this soup. I occasionally eat fish, but no other meat, and this has a very "meaty" taste! However, after a few bites I was hooked. This soup is really good as written, but excellent when following the suggestions of other reviewers. I usually halve the lentils and water and add the appropriate amount of "not so chick'n" bouillon cubes to keep it vegetarian. Despite halving the recipe I use the full amount of spices and crushed tomatoes and add 1/8th tsp of red pepper flakes. As for the amount of carrots and celery - just use what you want! I add a bit of cubed potato (7 to 8 oz) or celery root toward the last 20 minutes. With my extra vegetables I always need another cup of broth. Red wine vinegar works great. Would like to try balsamic, but why mess with perfection? As for the spinach, adding it to the bottom of the bowl works great and there's no slimy spinach leaves after a day or two of left overs. This is a staple in the fall and winter kitchen, very forgiving and easy to modify. This is one of the best recipes I've tried in a long time. Even meat eaters will like it!
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At first I wasn't sure if I liked this soup. I occasionally eat fish, but no other meat, and...