Delish Red Lentil Soup… What’s not to LOVE?

red lentil soup garnished with a dollop of yogurt & sprig of cilantro

RED LENTILS remind me of Bri. She loved to cook with them.

I was thinking of her today after pruning roses for a couple of hours in our disheveled winter garden. It was edging towards 5pm, the pale sun had slipped below the rooftops in the southwest, and I was getting hungry…wondering what to make for dinner?

Bri popped to mind. She would have had ideas for dinner and concocted something tasty, enthusiastically! Just the thought of how short her life was, even with all her verve and sparkle, made me a little melancholy. Funny how an out-of-the-blue wistful moment, can flavor a lovely sunny balmy January day with an edge of sadness. I miss her bright smile, sparkling eyes, lilting voice, bustling, slightly bossy energy.

But she wouldn’t want me to be blue…

So, how about RED, that is ‘Red Lentil Soup’ instead?

I improvised this recipe early last August, took the photographs, prepped and uploaded them for a FWB post, intending to jot down my recipe notes….and never got around to it. Have you EVER attempted to recall your improvised recipe almost half a year later?!! NOT a good strategy.

Fortunately, I had bookmarked several red lentil soup recipes that inspired this one. I’ll reconstruct what I did for you, since Marc, Bill and I all thought it was exceptionally tasty! One of the BEST soups I made in 2010.

red lentil soup ingredients photo
This fantastic red lentil soup is quick to make from the right ingredients.

For Bri’s Sake ~ Red Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS:
•    2 tablespoons Virgin Olive Oil & 1 Tablespoon of The Smoked Olive’s richly smokey ‘Sonoma’ olive oil (see SOURCES at the end of the article)
•    2 big Garlic cloves, minced fine
•    1 large Onion, chopped
•    1 tablespoon ground Cumin

•    2 cups filtered Water*
•    4 cups (1 quart box) of Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup* or something similar
•    1 pound Red Lentils, rinsed thoroughly (discard any discolored or hard ones)
TIP: These lentils are called Masoor Dal at your local Indian grocery store.

•    1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (I used freshly ground Black Pepper instead as I like it better)
•    1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro (or more depending on your preferences)
•    3/4 cup fresh Meyer Lemon juice (plus more to add at the table)
•    Creamy, Greek-style Yogurt as garnish

*NOTE: Traditionally, the soup is made with Chicken stock.

garlic and onions, photo detail
Garlic and Onions are some of our favorite basic savory recipe staples.
photo of chopped onions and minced garlic
Saute chopped onions and minced garlic in soup pot with The Smoked Olive’s special SONOMA smoked olive oil.

DIRECTIONS:
I proceeded to make the soup in my own fashion…
1.    Using a large soup pot, sauteed the garlic & onions in olive oil over medium heat ’til translucent and just beginning to caramelize. About 3 minutes.
2.    Add the ground cumin and cook with the garlic/onion mixture for half-to-one minute to bring out a richer  flavor.

red lentils being added to tomato soup stock
Add washed red lentils to the tomato-roasted pepper soup stock.

3.    Then I added the water & tomato-pepper soup stock along with the washed, cleaned red lentils. Bring to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender.

photo of boiling red lentil soup
Bring red lentils to a boil, before turning heat to down to a simmer.

4.    Carefully puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth.

fresh green cilantro and lemon Juice photo
Fresh cilantro and Meyer lemon Juice are bright flavor notes added to the red lentil soup just before serving.

5.    Stir in lemon juice and cilantro before serving. Top with a big dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. Have more lemon wedges at the table, so folks can make their servings as lemony as they wish. ENJOY!
SERVES 6-8

red lentil soup garnished with a dollop of yogurt & sprig of cilantro
Red Lentil Soup garnished with a dollop of yogurt & sprig of cilantro

Ahmad Ghosheh, an Allrecipes.com user comments:
Very good. I am a Palestinian and we cook this all the time. I double the Cumin. and get rid of the cayenne pepper and use regular pepper. Also no need to puree, if you leave the soup on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes the lentils will dissolve completely. I add the onions last because I like the crunch.

SOURCES:
Here are various Red Lentil Soup recipes I found while looking for ideas.

Lebanese-Style Red Lentil Soup http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lebanese-Style-Red-Lentil-Soup/Detail.aspx

Dove’s Eye View: Red Lentil Soup http://bedouina.typepad.com/doves_eye/2004/03/

Red Lentil Soup With Lemon
New York Times ~ Published: January 9, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/dining/091arex.html

SONOMA Smoked Olive Oil is available on-line http://www.thesmokedolive.com/ or at some farmers markets in northern California

PHOTOGRAPHY NOTES:
The wildly varying soup color was a result of shooting with and without flash. The flash photos made the soup intensely red.

4 thoughts on “Delish Red Lentil Soup… What’s not to LOVE?”

  1. This looks amazing!

    I happened upon one of your tweets this afternoon and have spent some time reading about your beautiful daughter. I’m so sorry for your loss. I plan to make this recipe over the weekend and will think of your kind, bubbly daughter while doing so.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. Jodi ~ Delighted you found our blog. I’m pleased (and Bri would be, too!) to have you make this red lentil soup. It’s SO easy and really yummy. Do let us know what you think of it… Have a great weekend!

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