Friday, March 20, 2015

Red Lentil Soup

This soup is so much more awesome than the name implies.  Red lentil soup doesn't suggest all the flavor packed into it, with the brightness of lemon and the spice of garam masala.  It doesn't explain the presence of carrots, onions and celery (or leeks, in my case, since I was out of celery).  It doesn't speak of bay leaves or the fact that this soup has so much flavor, it doesn't even need garlic.

It just makes you think of red lentils, and if you're not like me, you may have no idea that lentils even came in red.  Red lentils are actually quite different from the more common green or brown lentils.  They are pre-split, so they cook much faster than their counterparts.  They also turn to mush, so they're perfect for soups.  They add protein, fiber, and a nice yellow color (yes, it's weird, but red lentils turn yellow when they cook).

Back to the soup itself.  The recipe is kind of like a blank canvas, because it suggests dressing it up however you want.  Top it with gremolata or Greek yogurt.  Spice it up with Italian herbs or a seasoning blend.  It also suggests the teaspoon of garam masala, which I am immensely glad that I decided to add, because I can't even slightly imagine the soup without it.  I will be posting it as a mandatory ingredient!  I know Indian food isn't for everyone, but this soup is.  It's not overly Indian-y, just super tasty, hearty, warming, quick, easy, healthy, and wonderful.


red lentil soup
from The Kitchnn
serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot, diced
2 large ribs celery, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
1 cup red lentils
4 cups water or low-sodium broth
1 whole bay leaf
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon


1) Ina  medium saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the carrot, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stir to combine, then cover and let the vegetables sweat until the onions are soft and translucent.

2) Add the lentils, water or broth, and bay leaf.  Bring up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and let simmer, covered, until the lentils begin to fall apart, about 20 minutes.

3) Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and add salt to taste.  Ladle into bowls and serve.  Leftovers will keep refrigerated for 5 days and reheat well.

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