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Clayton Benignus | Bluebonnet EC

This flavorful soup is sometimes referred to as “Esau’s birthright” because, according to the Bible, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl. Considered a fasting recipe, it’s also a beloved Greek comfort food—to which Benignus adds spices and hot sauce, to satisfy Tex-Mex tastes.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 can (14.5 ounces) chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound red lentils
2 quarts water
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil and vinegar in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables, spices and hot sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is softened and fragrant, about 5–7 minutes.

2. Rinse lentils and add them to the vegetables. Stir in the water, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Gently simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Season as desired with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serves 6–8.

Cook’s Tip

Garnish this soup with freshly chopped cilantro, basil or mint, and serve with crusty bread or steamed brown rice.