Oregano, bay leaves and lentils are staple ingredients in Greek cooking. This nourishing soup can be a whole meal served with pita bread, wedges of feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
• 11⁄2 cups dried lentils
• 8 cups water, vegetable broth or chicken broth
• 2 cups tomatoes, chopped (fresh or canned)
• 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
• 1 zucchini, diced
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
• 1 teaspoon honey (preferably Greek)
• 1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1⁄4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
• 2 cups small pasta shells (optional)
2. Place all ingredients except parsley and pasta in a 6-quart heavy pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
3. Meanwhile, if using, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. When soup is done, stir in parsley and pasta. Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide soup among six soup bowls. Serve immediately.