Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Spiced red lentil soup

I don’t have a special story or rambling anecdote today. No, it’s as straightforward as this: I had some veggies and lentils to use up, I came across this recipe, and a healthy, lo-cal dinner was born.

1T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded or chopped
29 oz. vegetable broth (or 2 bouillon cubes)
6 oz. red lentils (masoor dal)
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 cup plain soy yogurt

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper, and cinnamon, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add the onion and cook and stir until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. (I didn’t decide to add the onion until later, so that’s why you don’t see it here, but you should definitely sauté it with the spices at this point for the best flavor.) Add the red bell pepper and carrots, and cook and stir until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, (or two bouillon cubes + scant 4 cups water), lentils, and salt.

Bring to a boil.

Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Purée with a hand blender (or in batches in a blender). Ladle into bowls, swirl a heaping tablespoon of yogurt into each, and grind on some fresh cracked black pepper. You could also garnish with chopped cilantro, parsley, or green onions. It’s smooth, well-spiced, simple, and satisfying. Keep this in mind for your next busy weeknight!

Yield: 3 servings. Per serving: 166 calories, 5.2g fat (.5g sat), 23.6 carbs, 9g fiber, 7.6g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Creamy chickpea soup
White bean garlic soup
Indian curried lentils

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  1. Looks awesome! I have found lentils to be so good for, like you say, busy weeknights. I wonder how this one would be if you didn't puree it, just to keep the texture? Also, how are red lentils different from other ones (other than the obvious)?

  2. Thanks! I actually stopped blending it just short of smooth. I thought it would be nice to keep a tiny bit of texture. I'm sure it would be great (and faster!) unblended, too. Red lentils are different because by the time they're done cooking, they've lost their color and broken down so much as to be unrecognizable; they're almost partially self-pureeing, in a way. (You can kind of see what I mean here.)

  3. This was my first experience cooking with lentils and I absolutely LOVED it! In fact, I'm eating it right now! Instead of the yogurt, I topped it with black pepper and dried cilantro leaves. I'm very excited for my leftovers!

  4. Rachel—YAY! Almost all soups are great leftover, but this one especially. Welcome to the Lentil Lovers' Club!