A bowl of warm lentil soup goes a long way in taking the chill out of cold winter days, and is a particularly health-supportive choice that keeps you satiated. Red lentils, with a quicker cook time than their green or black counterparts, provide just as much filling and heart-healthy fiber with less fuss.
Serve this soup over the grain of your choice and some steamed or sautéed greens for a nutritionally balanced and satisfying meal. Or serve it as is, as a prelude to a meal, or as a stand-alone snack to warm your bones and soul.
Super Easy Red Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 ½ to 2 cups)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon group coriander seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
Pinch of salt
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups red lentils, picked over for any stones and rinsed
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons (or to taste)
Optional garnish: plain yogurt, chopped cilantro
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and add onions, spices, and salt. Gently sauté until onions are soft, but not brown, and mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- If using garlic, add to mixture after onion mixture has started to soften.
- Add lentils and 7 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook mixture for about 20 minutes or until the lentils have started to fall apart.
- Use an immersion blender to purée the soup to the consistency you like. Alternatively, place approximately half the soup in a blender and purée. Aim for a consistency somewhere between smooth and chunky.
- Add lemon juice to taste, along with salt and pepper.
- Garnish as desired.
- Super Easy Red Lentil Soup with Tomatoes. Substitute 1 cup of diced tomatoes and their juices in lieu of 1 cup of water.
- Super Easy Red Lentil Soup with Tomatoes and Chili. To the above variation, substitute 1 tablespoon chili powder for the tumeric.
- Super Easy Spicy Red Lentil Soup. To either the original recipe or any of the variations, add 1 to 2 chopped jalapeños just prior to serving.
Adding an acid – such as lemon juice or vinegar – has the effect of “waking” up, or brightening, flavors. Try adding a splash of citrus juice or apple cider vinegar to any savory dish – this trick is especially useful for enlivening leftovers.
This soup uses a generous amount of turmeric, which adds a lovely golden glow to the soup and also packs tremendous health benefits. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. To reap the full benefits of turmeric, always combine it with some fat so your body can fully absorb it. There is also evidence that the body better absorbs turmeric in conjunction with black peppercorns.
While preparing the soup, put a second pot on the stove to cook a batch of your favorite grains. Depending on your choice of grains, both pots will finish around the same time, and you will have two components of balanced meals ready to portion out.