Summer Lentil and Beet Greens Soup

I mostly default to the flavors of the Mediterranean whenever I’m creating a new recipe. Sometimes it’s Italian flavors I’m working with, sometimes it’s North African or Eastern Mediterranean inspirations, and sometimes it’s Turkish or Greek.

I normally begin the development process by looking at my main ingredient(s) and deciding which way I’m going with the creation. In this recipe, I started with two bunches of fresh early summer beets with the small stems and greens still attached. I already had something in mind for the beetroot, so it was the greens and small stems I wanted to work with. I opened the pantry and immediately focused on the lentils. My base was set, and all I needed to do next was work out the flavor profile and how I was going to prepare everything.

I thought the earthiness of the beet greens would match well with the richness of my green lentils…and I started to visualize a creamy soup cut with spices and filled with even more greens. I wanted even more creaminess in the soup and decided to add a handful of risotto rice that I knew would release a large amount of starch into the lentils and vegetables. The spices were simple: ground cumin, ground coriander and a hint of heat from some chili flakes.

All the elements were in place except one – the acidity would lack in this recipe. I wanted to keep the green color of the greens in the soup for as long as possible, so I decided to use a combination of lemon zest and soy yogurt to finish the soup just before serving.

My new soup recipe was coming together – it would be a simple summer soup that can be enjoyed for several days…perhaps even for an unusual breakfast!

Yield: makes about 4-6 servings

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