By: Eleni Saltas
As a nutritionist (I minor in nutrition and major in online searches), I recommend FAKES SOUPA or simply FAKES (fah-KESS). This Greek staple is definitely a favorite in my kitchen because I know just how incredibly healthy lentils are. If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly stopped liking lentils (not possible), I would still eat the soup for the health benefits alone.
Lentils are small but they are a massive nutritional powerhouse. They’re packed with protein and fiber and are low in fat. They’re rich with vitamins and minerals. They can reduce LDL cholesterol and can cut the risk
of heart disease. They provide a great energy boost. It’s a nice bonus that lentils taste really, really good. Add vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, and you have a healthy bang for your buck.
You can make fakes any time of year. A big bowl of fakes will comfort you when it’s
cold and will keep you full during days that are meant for fasting from meat. This meal requires little effort to make—just slowly simmer your favorite vegetables with the lentils, and season to taste. For a finishing touch, add a splash of red wine vinegar to your bowl plus a dollop of yogurt or crumbled feta on top. Of course, bread—such as a good loaf of French bread—is also necessary to have at the ready to ensure not even a drop of those healthy juices is wasted.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 16 ounces of lentils
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 4 bay leaves
- 4-5 cups of vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups tomatoes, diced (canned is fine)
- 1⁄2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar, for serving
- 1 bunch shredded spinach (optional)
Step by Step Instructions
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, bay leaves and oregano. Cover all with vegetable broth.
Reduce the heat to low/medium and slow simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes. Add more water or vegetable broth or even olive oil throughout as needed to keep the lentils covered.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, (and the optional spinach). Season with salt and pepper. Continue to slow simmer for 25-30 more minutes, until lentils have softened.
Stir in the parsley, and add the red wine vinegar at the end to taste.
Serve warm with the bread and additional oil and vinegar.