This was one of the first recipes I learn to cook. The humble yet, nutritious red lentil soup. Learning to cook was no easy task for me, at the time I was learning to cook there weren’t over 227 million food blogs to explore and discover: and the cookbooks weren’t as available in such a variety as they are today.
So had to learn this recipe from my husband vague explanation of the lentil soup he would normally in enjoy during the Ramadan season in his home country. It was the first successful recipe, I had made and it quickly became a staple in our weekly dinner rotation.
Since learning this soup 10 years ago, I have come up with many different variations of this recipe; all of which I plan on share with you all.
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Red Lentil Soup
In this variation, I used lemon and tomato to give the a slightly acidic, umami feel and I also kept the lentils lightly chunky so it more rustic feeling and of course one less dish to wash ;). The spice blend in this soup is earthy and warm from the cumin and cardamon with a fiery kick that hit the back of you palate from the cayenne.
Serves: serves 2-3
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup of red lentils, washed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- pinch of cayenne
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium Roma or vine tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups chicken broth
- olive oil, for drizzling (optional)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- half a lemon and some slices for garnish if you wish
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pinches of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Stir garlic. Cook for about 3 more minutes, reducing the heat, if necessary, to avoid burning the garlic.
- Add the tomatoes, spices (all of them), and another few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and juicy.
- Stir in the lentils and then add the broth. Simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the lentils are tender, taste the soup and adjust the seasonings if needed, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
- Serve hot in large bowls. With fresh cilantro and lemon slices on top, if desired.
Double this recipe to make a larger batch. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two days or freeze for 6 weeks
Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for about 1 cup of canned diced tomatoes. (try fire-roasted kind for a smoky kick)