Cooking with Alison

Favourite Red Lentil Soup Recipe

In Soups and Salads on November 21, 2014 at am

I love cooking lentils in the fall and winter months.  Here are just some of the many reasons why I almost always have some in my pantry:  they are very economical, they store well and are great to have on hand when I’m out of fresh vegetables, they’re easy and forgiving to cook, they work well in side dishes, one-pot main courses, or soup, they make freezer friendly meals, and they’re hearty, nutritious, and high in fiber.  This is my favourite red lentil soup recipe.

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Red Lentil Soup Recipe

makes 4 to 6 servings; adapted from Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup recipe

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed well

approximately 10 ounces of coconut milk  (Note:  I either use half of a 19 ounce can of thick coconut milk (Mae Ploy brand) or I use a full 400 ml/14 ounce can of thin or medium coconut milk)

3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (Note:  My favourite chicken bouillon cube is made by Harvest Sun.)

1/2 yellow or white onion, finely minced  (Note:  The original recipe calls for red onion.)

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin (Note:  If your cumin is old or if it is not freshly ground, you may need to use up to 2 teaspoons to achieve the desired flavour.)

1 teaspoon ground coriander  (Note:  If your coriander is old or if it is not freshly ground, you may need to use up to 2 teaspoons to achieve the desired flavour.)

1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika

coarse sea salt

ground black pepper

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)

1/2 fresh small red chili or a pinch of chili powder or cayenne powder (to taste)  (optional)

coconut oil or vegetable oil

fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat a large, heavy bottomed sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add enough coconut oil or vegetable oil to very lightly coat the bottom of the pot.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions.  Cook, stirring frequently until softened and just about to starting browning.  Then add the ginger, garlic, chili (if using), cumin, coriander, and paprika and stir until the garlic is softened.  Add the drained red lentils and stir until mixed thoroughly with the spices.  Then stir in the water and/or broth, and coconut milk.

Cover the pot with its lid and bring it to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, covered, until the lentils are very soft and have practically disintegrated, up to 40 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before pureeing it in a blender until smooth.  Blend in more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.  You may need to blend the soup in batches.  Alternatively, as suggested in the original recipe, you could serve the thick soup as is, without pureeing it, as long as the lentils are soft enough that a thick and almost creamy texture has been achieved.  Stir in the freshly squeezed lime juice to taste, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired.  Serve hot.  This soup freezes well.

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  1. The soup looks creamy. How is the texture? Is it smooth or does it leave slight sandy texture? I have never tried lentil soup, but am thinking about trying since I want to cook more meatless option.

    • Hi there, the soup can be as smooth or chunky as you’d like. It just depends on how long you boil it for and how well you blend it. With lentil soups, there will always be some level of grittiness, but I found that this soup was better than most. I hope you like it!

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