The other day I was in a “soup for dinner” state of mind but it was already late afternoon and I didn’t have much time to cook. I made a quick stop at Nature’s Depot , our local organic food store, and as I was perusing the aisles for inspiration, I saw red lentils in the bulk section. Suddenly, I remembered I used to make red lentil soup all the time in college as one of my quick, homemade comfort foods. Not only is it fast but it is super easy and so delicious and healthy. Of course, I couldn’t remember exactly how I used to make it since that was too many years ago; but the version I came up with was pretty yummy. For those of us who want something warm and nourishing these cooler fall days but don’t have time to do all the prep and simmering for most soups, this one is perfect! You can get red lentils at most stores that carry bulk grains. They are also very inexpensive, so this soup is perfect for a college student’s budget (this one is for you, Audrianna).
RED LENTIL SOUP in a Hurry
Serves 4 as a main meal
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed well in a colander
- 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly (I use organic carrots so I don’t peel them, just scrub them well)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 -3 tsp. turmeric
- 2-3 tsp. cumin
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube ( I love Rapunzel brand because they have a no salt & vegan version) No artificial ingredients either!
- 6 cups water
- 1 – 3 tsp. Liquid Bragg (or low-sodium soy sauce) but Bragg’s is vegetarian and has vitamins and amino acids in it.
- Salt and pepper to your taste, or not
- 1 cup chopped kale (optional)
- In dutch oven or large saucepan, saute onions, carrots and garlic in oil for a few minutes, until soft. Add spices and mix well. Let saute a few minutes more until the aroma of the spices fills your kitchen.
- Add lentils to the pot, then slowly pour in the water with the veggie bouillon cube dissolved.
- 3.. Turn onto very low heat and simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, checking often and stirring to keep lentils from sticking to pot. If it needs a bit more liquid add some water or stock.
- When the lentils are very soft and falling apart you can use an immersion blender to make it creamier, but you can just leave it alone and have all the textures if you prefer. I never miss a chance to use my immersion blender 🙂
Add lemon juice and Braggs’s Liquid Aminos, stir well and taste. If you want to add more flavorings do it now. (lemon juice, spices, salt and pepper). I had some just picked kale so I chopped up about a cup and added it after I blended the soup for a boost of nutrition. It was just a last minute idea, so don’t worry if you don’t have kale.
6. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and cilantro or parsley if you have some.