I am sure that there are many versions of Middle Eastern Spinach soup as there is Minestrone in Italy!
I have roughly based mine on a combination of the Persian Ash Reshteh and Ottolenghi’s Spinach Soup and what I had in the pantry and veggie garden on a chilly afternoon.
It all started with the onset of wintery weather and spinach, which thrives in my garden. Actually it was Swiss Chard this time and not the tender English spinach that I usually favour. You can use either.
Other than the little oil used to get the onions and spices going this soup is virtually fat free, well, until you add a dollop or two of the thick creamy yoghurt to serve. I find heating the spices with the oil brings out the flavour and takes away any raw spice flavours, especially with the turmeric.
This is an excellent vegan dish if you simply omit the yoghurt or try one of the new plant based ones.
The lentils and the chick peas provide excellent protein. Do not drain the chick peas, the water gives a creamy texture to the dish.
The Persian Ash Reshteh has pasta similar to tagliatelle providing the carbs. But in an effort to cut the carbs I found my low carb version more acceptable.
Other canned beans such as cannellini or black beans can be added. Black beans give exotic colour contrast.
The generously use of spices provide the glorious flavours that make this soup Middle Eastern.
Turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, paprika and just a hint of mild chilli provide complex base.
And then to serve, if you have a few pomegranate rubies, it converts it to a dish fit for royalty!
You can make up your own vegetable stock, but I cheat and use a good quality, low sodium and MSG free powdered or liquid stock.
Virtually no skill is required to prepare this hearty soup. You need no fancy blenders, simply a chopping board, sharp knife, a saucepan and about 90 minutes total prep and cooking time!