When chef Sera Pelle cooks lunch for the staff at Natural Curiosities, she turns to one-pot dishes like this hearty vegetarian soup, thickened with cooked brown rice. A drizzle of homemade scallion-garlic oil with hot pepper adds the perfect spicy counterpoint.
More Delicious Healthy Soups
3/4 cup short-grain brown rice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
4 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, coarsely chopped (6 cups)
1 tablespoon Herbamare herb salt or sea salt, plus more for seasoning (see Note)
1 large fennel bulb—halved, cored and coarsely chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine the rice with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes; drain well.
Meanwhile, in a very large pot, heat the olive oil and safflower oil. Add the leeks and 1 teaspoon of the salt, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel, garlic and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 7 minutes.
Add the lentils, turmeric and 16 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have broken down, about 30 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast and the cooked rice and simmer for 5 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, gently puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with a toasted baguette slice and a drizzle of Spicy Scallion Oil.
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, adding a little more water if the soup is too thick.
Herbamare salt and nutritional yeast are available at health and specialty food stores.
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