Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

This is a hearty delicious soup that I added a little extra flavor to the original recipe. Your choice of fresh cilantro or parsley is stirred into the soup at the end of cooking. I used fresh parsley because that what we had on hand. Perfect for a cold winter night!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of smoked paprika
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, or more to taste
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 1/4 cup red lentils
1-2 large or 3-4 small carrots, peeled and diced (or grated)
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste, plus the zest of about half the lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden, about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, cumin, curry powder, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and chili powder or cayenne, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
Add broth, water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and cilantro or parsley. Optionally, serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder, if desired. I served the soup with a crusty garlic bread, fantastic!

Adapted from: cooking.nytimes.com

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