This is a lively, lemony soup that comes together quickly, and makes a delightful supper for a warm Spring evening, served with pita bread. When it comes to immune-enhancing nutrition, lutein-rich spinach hits the jackpot. According to Lisa Turner, author of “Meals that Heal”, a half cup of cooked spinach a day cuts the risk of lung cancer in half, even among smokers. Spinach also lowers cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of macular degeneration and protects overall eye health.
Popeye was right!
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion or sliced leek
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
5 cups vegetable stock, or water with 1 bouillon cube
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juice
6 to 6 ounces fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or dill, or a combination, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon-pepper and salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion or leek and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper and garlic and saute the vegetables for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion or leek turns golden and the red pepper softens.
2. In the meantime, cook the orzo in a separate saucepan until al dente. When done, drain.
3. Add the stock or water and the tomatoes to the soup pot. Bring to a simmer, then simmer steadily, covered, for 10 minutes.
4. Add the cooked orzo to the soup along with the spinach and the herbs. Stir in the lemon juice, then season to taste with lemon-pepper and salt. Serve at once.