Red Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is such a comforting, simple, and easy recipe.  It’s hearty, filling and healthy.  You can make a vegetarian or vegan version by using vegetable broth or only water for the liquid. It is both great on a chilly day by adding a drizzle of peppery olive oil, or pepper sauce.  As well, by adding a dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt and lemon, it turns into a cool and refreshing soup for those warmer days. This pared-down red lentil version can be jazzed up by adding different preferred spices or condiments, therefore never becoming boring.  For example, you could add chopped garlic, parsley, or lemon zest.

Red Lentils are de-husked, and split before packaging, therefore they cook up quicker than any other variety of legumes, although they are slightly lower in fiber than the larger whole varieties. They are perfect for weeknights, or whenever you’re in a hurry to get a meal on the table.  Also note that while they’re a pink/orange color in the package, their color changes as they cook, turning to a golden-yellow hue as they melt into a soup or stew.  I love the fact that they cook so quickly.  A half-hour is all it takes to go from stovetop to table, and much of that time is unattended.

Red Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Yields: 8-10 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 4 cups water and 4 cups low-sodium broth
  • 2 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1/2 large lemon
  • Olive oil, yogurt, sour cream or other topping, to serve

Method

  1. In a medium (2- to 3-quart) 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, about 5 minutes.
  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.
  4. Since this soup is your basic Red Lentil you may want to liven up the soup just before serving, top it with a drizzle of peppery olive oil, a dollop of plain yogurt or a dollop of sour cream to each serving. Stir in to make a creamy soup.

FYI:

Freeze remainder of soup in individual servings for a quick lunch. Also, feel free to add spices as you like. Italian herbs, or other seasonings when adding the broth.

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