My go to meal is red lentil soup. Not only is it fast and healthy, it is also super yummy, filling, and cheap. Whenever I am in a meal rut, or want a nice big bowl of comfort food I make this soup. I got the basic idea from a New York Times recipe and have modified to make it work for my family. The best part of this soup is it is so easy to make, but has a complex flavor profile that makes you feel fancy even on a cold, blah, winter weeknight. Add a refreshing side salad or some warm and crusty bread and you have the perfect meal that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters and most dietery requirements.
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes, or red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1/2 sweet potato, chopped (optional)
- 1.5 cup red lentils
- 28 oz chicken broth (optional) – to keep this soup vegetarian you can use water or vegetable broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- In a large pot heat 4 tablespoons olive oil.
- Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute for an additional 2 minutes or until onions are shimmering. Make sure to continuously stir so you do not burn the garlic or onions.
- Stir in the cumin, chile powder (or red pepper flakes), and tomato paste. Continue to saute for another 1-2 minutes. This step is important to cook the spices.
- Add the carrot, sweet potato (if using), and red lentils and stir until it has all been mixed in with the spices and garlic/onion mixture.
- Add the chicken broth and water and stir again. Bring to a bil and then redue to a simmer until lentils are soft. This should take 20-30 minutes. You will notice the lentils get alittle stringy and soft.
- Once the lentils are cooked through use an immersion blender and puree the soup. I puree the whole thing because my kids like their soup smooth and creamy. If you would like more texture to your soup puree just a quarter or half of the soup.
- Most important step – Add fresh lemon juice. Do not forget this step! The lemon is what makes the soup so yummy. Start with the juice of half a lemon and then add more to taste. (I like it lemony and usually use a whole lemon).
- Final Steps – Add chopped cilantro. I have a heavy hand with cilantro and like more than the average person. Start with adding two tablespoons chopped cilantro and stir into the soup. Add more to taste. Wait a few minutes. Drink a glass of water to cleanse your palette and take a final taste. At this point add salt as you feel necessary.
Enjoy your soup!!!!