It might be a tie for me between this soup and sopa de pollo. I absolutely love this recipe, probably one of my favorites to make when I’m craving comfort food. It’s healthy and so so filling. This is my take on the traditional cuban lentil soup I grew up eating using fresh local ingredients that I get my hands on. I love going to the coconut grove farmers markets on saturdays and a lot of the ingredients I get there. They have a huge selection of lentils and I always stock up and put them in mason jars in my pantry. I really love the green lentils and those are the ones I used for this recipe, but feel free to use whichever kind you like!
A very very important step: SOAK YOUR LENTILS! Not screaming I promise haha. A very important step in my opinion. I make sure to soak my lentils 24hrs before cooking, changing the water 2-3x on that day. Soaking your lentils aids in digesting them and will help you not get an upset stomach nor get bloated after eating them. No thanks! My mom says she achieves the same thing with her pressure cooker but I still swear by soaking them. Another important step Is salting and tasting your soup while cooking. I see so many people not tasting and seasoning throughout the process and I think that's super important to make sure all your flavors are coming together perfectly & you don't have a bland soup at the end. Trust meeeee.
You can also very easily make this recipe vegan / vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken flavored cubes!
Serve this delicious soup warm, and to my liking topped off with some greek yogurt to give it a little tang and creaminess which I love! Add fresh herbs and there you have it guys!
1 pound of lentils
2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
5 cups water
1 large malanga, peeled & cut into 1 in. cubes
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
¼ tsp. Crushed red pepper
½ tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cubes of “Maggi Chicken Flavor Bouillon” (pictured below)
1 ½ packets of sazon goya con culantro y achiote (pictured below)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. Sazon completa
Handful of chopped organic spinach
Make your sofrito. In a large dutch oven or soup pot bring together your tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, a few tbsp. Of olive oil and cook down on medium heat for a few minutes while stirring. Once this starts cooking down, add your garlic and salt. Keep cooking until onions are translucent in color and the tomatoes are all mushy and broken down.
Now add your drained lentils to this sofrito while on medium heat still and while stirring let it combine and cook for a few minutes with the sofrito mix. We now add your 5 cups of water, malanga, celery & carrots. Stir. Add your spices...Crushed red pepper, turmeric, cumin, chicken flavoring, sazones & bay leaves. Stir and bring this to a boil. Reduce heat & bring to a simmer for about 40-45 min. With a lid.
While it’s cooking, taste the water of the soup, salt generously and make sure it tastes good. Stir your soup every 10 min. You’ll know your soup is done when your malanga and carrots are tender. Stir in your spinach and let it wilt by stirring in (5 min.) Serve warm topped with your favorite herbs.