Don't let the English-sounding name fool you—this Fakes Soupa is about as authentic as it gets. It's a perfect winter soup, filling and warming, and it's a staple of the Greek diet.
You can use lentils of your choice in this soup, φακές σούπα in Greek, pronounced fah-KESS SOO-pah, but if you want authentic Greek lentil soup, use small green-brown lentils. The Greeks aren't quite as particular about the tomatoes in this recipe—you can make it with or without them, but they do add a nice rosy blush to the finished product.
As an added bonus, fakes soupa is incredibly healthy, packed with fiber, vitamins, and iron—and, of course, the lentils are fat-free. It's perfect for vegans and vegetarians, and it's a mainstay of the Greek diet during Lent.
- 4 1/4 cups water
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, puréed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound small lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup olive oil
- Dash of sea salt
- Dash of freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, or to taste
- Add the water, tomatoes, bay leaves, onion, and garlic to a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Bring to a slow boil over medium heat, then add the lentils and oil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the lentils are soft.
- Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the vinegar or serve on the side, and maybe a side of crusty bread.
Variations and Tips
- The overall cooking time will depend on the type of lentils you use.
- If you want to prepare this soup without tomatoes, increase the water to 5 1/2 cups.
- You can add a pinch of Greek oregano or rosemary to the soup along with the bay leaves, but if you're making it without tomatoes, leave these out.
- If you're pressed for time and don't feel comfortable letting the soup simmer for an hour or more while you're out or busy with other things, you can soak the lentils in water for up to two hours before cooking. You can then cut the simmering time down to about 20 to 35 minutes, but cover the pot if you shorten the time.
- As with any soup, cooks are known for adding their own personal touches to fakes soupa. Some add diced potatoes or carrots.
- The Greeks like to top this dish with (of course!) crumbled feta cheese.