A summer-style soup—one that you can enjoy hot or cold depending on the day—is always a great recipe to have in your repertoire. Cooked lentils make an excellent soup topping, as they add texture and heartiness. I also love adding almonds to soups—it keeps the recipe vegan while adding tons of creaminess and depth of flavor. Sometimes I toast them before hand, but here, I wanted the freshness of the zucchini and mint to shine through here without being overpowered by almonds, so I just threw them in alongside the zucchini. It's a rather quick meal to prepare with minimal fuss. Leftovers can be served cold with lots of lemon and black pepper. —Jodi Kay ⎮ happy hearted kitchen
beluga lentils, preferably soaked for 1 hour or overnight
extra-virgin olive oil
cloves garlic, minced
small yellow onion or shallot, finely chopped
chopped zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini, unpeeled), plus additional ribbons for garnishing
Rinse and drain the lentils, then place in a sauce pot with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes, or until al dente. Don’t over-cook, or you will have a mushy mess on your hands. Drain any excess water and rinse the lentils clean. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add garlic and onion and sauté over low heat until soft and fragrant, stirring often. Add in chopped zucchini and almonds, and cook everything together until the almonds are just a little toasty, then cover with stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until zucchini is soft and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool before blending.
Stir in 1 cup chopped fresh mint to the soup and blend in a high speed blender until smooth. Season to taste. Dress the cooked lentils with lemon juice and zest and a little extra drizzle of olive oil. Serve the soup, hot or cold, and top each bowl with lemony lentils, extra mint, and zucchini ribbons.