Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Curried Red Lentil Soup

My favorite food is lentil soup. I realize this is a bold statement, and it took me a while to come to this realization. I honestly don't think I even ate lentil soup until maybe when I was in college. For being raised with a very healthy diet, I tended to stray away from stereotypically "healthy" things. Now I look back on the years I spent eating PB&Js and drinking Mountain Dew and thinking about how much more my food/cooking tastes could have developed if I had only started eating adventurously years ago! 

Anyways, lentil soup is my go-to recipe. I could eat it literally any time of the day and any day of the week. I could eat it for days in a row. I could eat different variations- red lentil, brown lentil, green lentil... the point is, lentils are great. They're versatile and they're delicious. My favorite lentil soups tend to be ones with curry and lots of spices. Last night, I made a red curry lentil soup for the first time and I have to say, it was perfect for a cold snowy night. I also made a loaf of homemade bread for serving on the side, which turned out great for the lack of work involved. It was my first time and I think I have some improving to do, so I won't share that recipe yet. 

Curried Red Lentil Soup
serves 4 

1 Tbs coconut oil
1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger 
2 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 qt hearty vegetable broth
1 400ml can coconut milk
1 400g can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed if necessary
2 cups white basmati rice
a couple handfuls fresh spinach 
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Greek yogurt (can be omitted or substituted to make vegan)

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. 
2. Add the ketchup, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and then let cook for another minute. 
3. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil.
4. While you are waiting for the soup to boil, add the rice to your rice cooker and get it started. If you don't have a rice cooker, go get one. (Kidding- but it's actually a great investment). Feel free to follow the package directions.
5. After the soup comes to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer and keep covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom.  It is done when the lentils are very tender.
6. Optional step: blend! I have an immersion blender (my newest kitchen gadget) specifically for occasions like this. All you have to do is turn off the burner and blend. Before I got this handy guy, I used to transfer my lentil soup (in batches if I made a lot) to the regular blender to puree. You have to be very careful doing this though because it is very hot and you can get burned. I did it once and it hurt. It didn't hurt as much as when I grabbed the handle of a stainless steel skillet that had just come out of a 400 degree oven... but it wasn't fun. Also, if you prefer your soups chunky, skip this step entirely.
7. When the rice is cooked, add some to the bottom of each bowl. On top of this, layer fresh spinach leaves followed by a generous ladle or two of soup. Add a dollop of yogurt (or vegan sour cream), a sprinkle of cilantro, and a bit of pepper. Enjoy! 

Recipe inspired by Angela at

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