Since Spring still feels like a lifetime away, I figured I’d warm up with Cooking Light’s Nepalese Red Lentil Soup. Since I had some red lentils stored away in my cupboard for a while, I figured it was about time I’d used them.
When I think of Lentil Soup Ayhan’s Shish-Kebab Restaurant in Plainview immediately comes to mind. They have the best red lentil soup I’ve ever tasted and one of these days I hope to replicate it. But until that day comes, I need to try out a few preliminary recipes, and the Nepalese Red Lentil Soup was up first.
Though this recipe was easy to make and required very few ingredients, I felt that there was something missing. I might have slightly over-cooked the lentils but it was still lacking some flavor that I couldn’t put my finger on. After making the Nepalese Red Lentil Soup, I scoured the internet for other red lentil soup recipes. After reading a few, the red lentil recipe that appeared to me most was the New York Times’s Red Lentil Soup with Lemon. Their recipe calls for olive oil, rather than canola and incorporates tomato paste and carrots which definitely add to the flavor and body of the recipe.
My recommendations is to combine the two recipes, using the Nepalese spices from Cooking Light’s recipe, along with some canned tomatoes to create the PERFECT RED LENTIL SOUP.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp jalapeno, chopped (about 1 small jalapeno)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon garam-masala
- Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 can diced or stewed tomatoes, with juice
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in canned tomatoes, tumeric, garam-masala, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
- Add broth, 2 cups 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.
- If you prefer a smoother soup, using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot.
- Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.
*This should yield about 4 servings and can easily be doubled. Each serving (about 1 cup) is approximately 200 calories.