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Lentil Spinach Soup and Mint Chutney

“When I was younger, I would love to play with lentils until I realized from my mom that they are very nutritious,” says Ganesh. “I love green vegetables and decided to make a new recipe with vegetables and lentils. Last summer my mom and I planted a few mint plants in our garden. I loved to eat the fresh leaves. I don’t want to waste those precious leaves and came up with a mint recipe with lentils. I would serve this with 2 cups of rice, a glass of 2% milk, and a bowl of berries with ½ cup yogurt.” - Ganesh Selvakumar, age 9, Pennsylvania

Makes 6 servings


For the mint chutney:

  • 1/2 cup soaked dried split chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 fresh green chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the lentil soup:

  • 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 chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of cumin seeds


Make the mint chutney:

  1. In a medium bowl, soak the split chickpeas in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain the chickpeas and set aside.
  2. While the chickpeas are soaking, in a small sauté pan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the mint, onion, green chiles, and garlic and sauté, 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.

Make the lentil soup:

  1. 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.
  2. While the soup is simmering, in a small sauté pan over low heat, warm the oil. Add the green chiles, mustard seed, crushed red pepper, turmeric, and cumin seeds and toast, stirring, until the mustard seeds pop, about 2 minutes. Stir the spice mixture into the soup, divide the soup among bowls, and top with the mint chutney.

352 calories; 23g protein; 58g carbohydrates; 4g fat (.5g saturated fat); 452mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.