Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tangy Spinach-Yogurt Soup for "Souper Sundays"

It's time for "Souper Sunday" and perfect weather for it--looks of pouring down rain this weekend and cooler than usual here.  Today's soup is from a book I found at a used bookstore last weekend: Almost Vegetarian by Diana Shaw. The book's cover calls it "A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time & Altogether Well All of the Time."  I tagged several recipes to try and this soup was one of them:

Tangy Spinach-Yogurt Soup 
Almost Vegetarian, Diana Shaw
Serves 4 to 6

1 Tbsp unsalted butter or canola oil
2 large white onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 cup minced fresh dill, or 1 1/2 Tbsp crumbled dried dill
1 1 /2 Tbsp crumbled, dried oregano
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt
4 cups torn, washed spinach leaves
dash paprika

In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter or heat the oil.  Add the onions, salt, parsley, chives, dill, and oregano, and saute' over low heat until the onion is limp, about 20 minutes.

Add the lentils and stir well to blend.  Stir in the water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and simmer over low heat until the lentils are cooked, about 20 minutes.  The lentils are done when they're tender all the way through, yet retain their shape.  

Turn off the heat. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt until it's smooth and creamy. Whisk in about a tablespoon of the hot broth. Gradually add more broth, whisking after each addition, until half the broth in is the yogurt. Whisk the yogurt mixture back into the saucepan.  Add the spinach and stir constantly over low heat until the spinach has turned bright green and the soup has warmed through, 8 to 12 minutes.  Be careful not to bring the soup to the boiling point or the yogurt will separate.  Ladle the soup into serving bowls, and sprinkle each serving with a dash of paprika.  Or chill right away, covered, and serve cold.  

Diana Shaw notes that: "This soup tastes better after a day or two. If you'll be serving it cold, you can make it up to 3 days in advance. If you are serving it hot, don't add the spinach until 30 minutes before serving. At that point, reheat the soup very slowly, preferably in a double boiler, so it won't separate. Once it's heated through, stir in the spinach, and serve the soup the moment the spinach turns bright green, after about 3 minutes."

Notes/Results:  I made the soup sticking close to the recipe with the exception of replacing the water with a low-sodium vegetable stock I needed to use up and adding some ground black pepper.   The soup is flavorful and tangy and the lentils add a nice texture to it.  I tried it both hot when I made it and cold the next day.  I think I actually prefer it cold, as it pulls more of the tanginess out of the soup.  It was good, not necessarily my favorite soup ever but good--especially if you love spinach and yogurt.  It is nourishing and full of vitamins, iron and magnesium, fiber as well as pretty low calorie--one serving is about 159.  I served it with a wrap made from a 1/2 a whole-wheat lavosh with a little whipped cream cheese, some taro dill mustard, spinach and avocado.  

A couple of friends stopped by the Souper Sunday Kitchen with some exotic and spectacular looking soups:

First up is Christine from Kit's Chow with a delicious looking Khao tom Congee.  Congee is a rice soup or gruel and Christine's version is flavored with fish sauce and black pepper and garnished with garlic, onion, cilantro and chilies.  It looks like the perfect soup to comfort and take the chill out of a cold day!

Natashya of Living In the Kitchen With Puppies takes us to Morocco for her colorful Festive Tajine, full of delicious spices, vegetables and fruit.  So many bright flavors and colors from the sweet potato, carrots, clementines, spinach and pomegranate seeds and nicely spiced with Harissa, this is a beautiful dish!

Thanks to Christine and Natashya for stopping by.  If you have a soup, stew or anything related (chili, slow cooker dish, stroup, etc.) that you want to share, leave a comment or send me an email and I'll add your creation to next Sunday's line up.  (You don't have to make your soup on Sunday, just let me know you'll be participating by then).

On another foodie note--if you have been reading La Cucina for our virtual book club, Cook The Books, tomorrow, December 15th is the deadline to get your recipe post in.  We are fortunate to have Lily Prior, the author of La Cucina picking her favorite entry so look for the round up of recipes and the winner at the Cook The Books site (here) after the 15th.  We will also be announcing the next book.   

Have a great week everyone!


  1. Awesome soups! I love the idea of yogurt and spinach in a lentil soup - this one would be a good one for the piggy. :)

  2. Dang, I missed another Souper Sunday, and I actually made lentil chili during our fabulous ice storm. I gotta get my picture edited and blog it up and then I intend to join you next Sunday!

  3. These all look incredible. The tangy spinach-yogurt soup sounds great -- I love the fact that it could be served hot or cold; that seems to make it really versatile somehow!

  4. Good morning Deb. Just wanted to let you know that the La Cucina roundup is posted over at the Cook the Books blog featuring your lovely Uove!

  5. That soup looks so good! Such an unusual combination of ingredients.


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