Spinach, Lentil and Rice Soup a la Michele Scicolone

Adapted by Paulette Motzko from the original recipe by Michele Scicolone’s “The Italian Slow Cooker”:

1 pound brown lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 teaspoons garlic paste

One 14-1/2 ounce can vine ripened Italian style tomatoes, undrained

7 cups water

Mix all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low up to 7 hours, but check at 5 hours to see how soft the lentils are.

Depending on how hot your slow cooker gets, you may not need the full 7 hours.

Once the lentils are cooked…..

Add 1 cup uncooked white rice, Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and 10 ounces spinach or 10 oz of kale and spinach blend.

Cook an additional 30 minutes until the rice and spinach are cooked.

I found in my crock pot I had to cook it for way longer to get the lentils tender.

Serve with fresh from the oven French Bread or Ciabatta or homemade corn bread, a healthy, big Green salad with homemade Italian dressing or Balsamic dressing.

Extra virgin olive oil

The How To

In a slow cooker combine the lentils, garlic, celery, carrots, and 6 cups of the water. Add more water, needed, to cover the ingredients by 1/2 inch. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

Otherwise, the remaining 1 cup water, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer until the rice is tender. Stir in the spinach and cook for 15 minutes more, or until lentils are tender, which could vary, depending on the age of the lentils and hear of your crock pot.

Ladle into bowls drizzle with olive oil, and grind on some black pepper

Note: In the original recipe, Michele Scicolone added 2 stalks celery and two carrots that were chopped and added in the beginning of the cook time, along with the lentils, garlic and water.

It turns out that I didn’t have the celery or carrots but I did have a nice can of Italian vine ripened tomatoes and so I substitute that, along with 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil to add a little richness to the soup.