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Who Says Soup Is Just For Winter? Try This Bright Springtime Recipe

Image by Mark Weinberg / Ali Slagle
April 12, 2022
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When you hear the phrase "soup season," cold winter days likely come to mind. But Ali Slagle, recipe developer, New York Times contributor, and author of the new cookbook I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To), is here to put an end to that stereotype. Why should soup be siloed to one season?

Her new book features a "lentil soup on spring break" recipe, which provides all the comfort of a hearty bowl of soup, with the bright flavors of springtime.

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The fiber- and protein-packed green lentils make up the base of the soup, which is flavored with the citrusy zing of lemon and fennel seeds. As far as produce goes, the world (well, the supermarket) is your oyster. Feel free to grab any spring veggies of your choosing: Slagle suggests a mix of snap peas, snow peas, and green beans. We think thinly shaved asparagus would be a great addition, too.

If you're not craving it now, keep her recipe bookmarked for "when your brain knows it's spring, but your heart still says 'soup,'" says Slagle.

Lentil Soup on Spring Break

Serves 4 wannabe spring breakers

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Ingredients

  • 7 scallions
  • 1 pound spring veggies
  • 1 lemon
  • 1½ cups green lentils
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Method

  1. Thinly slice 7 scallions, keeping white and green parts separate.
  2. Trim the stem ends from 1 pound spring veg (any mix of snap peas, snow peas, green beans), then cut into ½-inch lengths crosswise.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 4 wide strips of rind off 1 lemon.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high. Add the scallion whites and cook until softened (3 to 5 minutes). Add the vegetables and lemon peel. Season with salt and pepper and cook until bright green (3 to 5 minutes).
  5. Add 1½ cups green lentils, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and stir to coat.
  6. Add 6 cups water, partially cover, and bring to a simmer. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Don't be alarmed: You want the vegetables brown and soft (and therefore sweet), and the lentils cradled by just a little liquid.
  8. While you wait, perhaps fry some bread to serve alongside it.
  9. Remove the lentils from the heat. Add the scallion greens, then season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice (it'll need all these things). Eat as is or over toast, with a drizzle of olive oil.
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Reprinted from I Dream of Dinner. Copyright © 2022 by Alexandra Slagle. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.