Serves 8.

The recipe is from the always reliable "Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook," by Christopher Kimball. If you'd like to use brown rice, add it at least 30 minutes before the soup is done or cook the rice separately and add it at the end. Cost per serving: 87 cents.

• 2 tbsp. butter

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 1 rib celery, chopped

• 2 carrots, chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 c. lentils, picked over and rinsed

• 5 c. chicken stock

• 5 c. water

• 2 c. canned or fresh tomatoes, chopped, with their juice

• 1/2 tsp. salt or more

• Freshly ground pepper to taste

• 1/4 c. uncooked rice

• 1/2 lb. fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed (or a 10-oz. pkg. frozen spinach)

• Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional


Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy stockpot over medium heat until the butter stops foaming. Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add lentils, stock, water and tomatoes.

Cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, or until the lentils are very soft. Add salt, pepper and rice. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Stir in the spinach, cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the spinach is fully cooked. If you are using frozen spinach, use a spoon to break up any clumps as it cooks. Adjust seasonings and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if using.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 210 Fat 8 g Sodium 340 mg

Carbohydrates 27 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 77 mg

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 8 mg Dietary fiber 60 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 lean meat, 1 fat.