Generations of kids grew up hearing about the super-power of spinach. Of course! They were told by the most reliable authority:
A can of spinach – and Popeye The Sailor Man was ready to defeat all the wrongdoers of the world! Without a doubt, spinach has powerful properties, essential for our health, but so do all the other green leafy vegetables, chief among them kale, the new post-Popeye super food. In case you think of it as just another trend, take at look at Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Olympic Games, proud of its athletes and warriors.
They ate frugally, and their diet consisted mainly of grains (barley and spelt being the most popular), fruit and vegetables, supplemented by cheeses and fresh fish. With the exception of athletes in training, who in later years were directed to eat meat, Ancient Greeks stressed the austerity of their diet (Hesiod, Works and Days), and considered research into culinary arts decadent. Meat was very rarely mentioned as part of daily meals.
So it happened, according to Homer, that the hero of Trojan war, wily Ulysses, AKA Odysseus, having met harrowing challenges on his way back from Troy, finally came home, to resume his rightful place as the King of Ithaca. What he found, though, was a crowd of rowdy guys competing for the hand of his wife Penelope and meanwhile, drinking his wine and eating meat, thus depleting his cattle. Decadent? In spades! In this final episode of the classic all-star film, you see enraged Ulysses taking revenge on the hapless suitors. I dare to assume that his diet during the ten years of his travels consisted mainly of kale and lentils, cooked the Greek way as a soup.
Since I don’t have the ability to grow my own vegetables, I do the next best thing – sprout all beans. To start this Ancient Greek soup, I first rinsed and soaked green lentils overnight. The level of water should be roughly double the level of beans.
In the morning, my lentils doubled in volume. I rinsed them again and left them in a large colander to dry.
I then transferred them, still damp, into a cheesecloth bag, leaving the top of the bag open for air circulation.
Here you see the cheesecloth bag with lentils inside a net bag, hanging on a hook. The net bag is not really necessary, but for some reason the cats avoid it, while the cheesecloth bag alone is a constant temptation. Depending on the freshness of dry beans (and you never know what you buy in a store!), it may take a day or two of rinsing, drying, and hanging on a hook to dry completely.
And then you see a miraculous thing: little cute tails! (this photo is for my favorite purple person, Melinda of http://www.purpleslobinrecovery.com/ – look at my nails!). You are ready to cook!
Your “grown up” green lentils go into the Instant Pot, together with sea salt, pepper, and pareve soup powder.
Add chopped kale, green leafy celery tops and parsley stems, mix it all up, and press the Manual button. Go do something else or relax for about an hour and watch the inimitable Anthony Quinn as Zorba the Greek:
When your Instant Pot beeps at you, carefully release the steam, left the lid, and inhale a marvelous aroma of Ancient Greece.
Savor your green Super Soup and grow stronger every day!
- 2 cups of sprouted green lentils (alternatively, just soak them overnight and rinse them, but sprouted beans are much healthier and better for digestion)
- 2 cups of tightly packed chopped fresh kale
- Handful of leafy celery tops
- Handful of chopped parsley stems
- 1 tablespoon of pareve soup powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 quarts of water
- To sprout any beans, rinse and soak them overnight in a glass, ceramic, or enamel container. Note: wood and metal cannot be used for sprouting. Water level should be double the level of beans. In the morning, rinse beans, spread in colander to dry, transfer to cheesecloth bag, hang on a hook. Rinse twice a day for a day or two, until green “tails” appear. Take as much as you need for cooking, portion and freeze the rest.
- To cook in Instant Pot, combine all ingredients, mix lightly, set on Manual. Follow your Instant Pot instructions for releasing steam, when ready.