Simple Red lentil Soup

This soup is my very favorite at the moment.  It’s simple to make, completely versatile, and so nourishing and warming – perfect for the onset of the cold weather.  If you have a pressure cooker, it’s done in about 15 minutes; even without it will take less than an hour with 5 minutes of labor on your part, if that.  You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand – greens, root vegetables, cabbage, carrots; it’s different every time and always delicious!  If you don’t have time to put the vegetables in, just do the red lentils, kombu, ginger, and cayenne.  You can always add veggies later; when I make the super-quick version, I like to garnish it with a big pile of crispy kale.

This recipe will make about 4-6 servings; I highly recommend doubling it!

  • 1 cup red lentils, soaked overnight then drained and rinsed
  • 1 strip kombu*, optional
  • water to cover by about 2 inches
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon to squeeze into your soup

Optional

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch of your favorite leafy green, roughly chopp
  • cooked basmati rice or quinoa

*kombu is a sea vegetable that is often cooked with beans to make them more digestible.  It also adds minerals (especially iodine) to your broth.  You can buy it in the seaweed section of any health food store.  Depending on how long/how you cook your soup, it may dissolve completely.  If not, the texture can be unappealing (an understatement in the case of my family) to many, so you can remove and discard it before serving.

Place the rinsed lentils, kombu, water, ginger, and cayenne in a pressure cooker or soup pot.  Bring to a boil and, if using a pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.  If cooking in a regular pot, simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils have broken down and you have a smooth broth.  Add vegetables, if using, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.  (You can pressure cook another 3 minutes).  Stir in cooked grains, if using.  Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into each individual bowl.  Enjoy!

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