Ganesh's White House-worthy vegan recipe

Lentil-spinach soup with mint chutney by Ganesh Selvakumar. From the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook, courtesy of Epicurious.

THIS RECIPE by Ganesh Selvakumar, of Broomall, was the winning selection for Pennsylvania in the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.


1/2 cup dried, split chickpeas

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups packed fresh mint leaves

1 cup chopped onion

2 fresh green chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

2 cups cooked red lentils

2 cups chopped spinach

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups water

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 fresh green chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Pinch turmeric

Pinch cumin seeds

For the mint chutney: In a medium bowl, soak the split chickpeas in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

While the chickpeas are soaking, warm the oil in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the mint, onion, green chilies and garlic, and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. Transfer to a blender, add the tamarind paste and salt, along with the soaked chickpeas and ½-cup water, and blend to make a paste.

To make the lentil soup: In a large saucepan over moderate heat, combine the red lentils, spinach, onion and salt, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the 6 cups of water, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the oil in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the green chilies, mustard seed, crushed red pepper, turmeric and cumin seeds and toast, stirring, until mustard seeds pop, about 2 minutes. Stir spice mixture into soup; pour soup into bowls and top with chutney. Makes 6 servings.


Source: The 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook.