A popular vegetarian soup that is high in protein and iron and low in fat. Like many soups it improves with age, so try making it the day before you plan to serve it.

SERVES 6 TO 8 AS A MAIN COURSE

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 green bell peppers, finely diced

10 cups Vegetable Stock

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1ВЅ cups lentils, picked over and rinsed

ВЅ teaspoon dried thyme

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

28-ounce can imported plum tomatoes with their juice, finely chopped

10-ounce bag fresh spinach or 1 pound loose fresh spinach (stems removed), finely chopped; or 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 tablespoons butter

  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and green peppers, and saut for 10 minutes.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the spinach and butter, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
  3. Add the chopped spinach and cook for 5 more minutes, or until it has wilted and become tender. Taste to adjust the seasoning and add the butter just before serving. Stir until melted.