Lentil soup holds a special place in my heart. Years ago, at one of my jobs, my coworkers and I would sometimes have lunch together at a wonderful little place called Wolfgang’s in our local mall. They made the best soups and fresh bread around. Wolfgang’s wasn’t very big, but the flavor of their soups was definitely big. That’s where I first tasted lentil soup. Now, it wasn’t like the Red Lentil Soup I’m sharing here, but it was so good. Lots of veggies and soft, cooked lentils, served with a fresh, warm roll or thick bread slice and a dab of butter. And all of it was made from scratch.
While Wolfgang’s is no longer there, made-from-scratch lentil soup does still find its way into my lunch…and dinner. And it can find its way into yours too! It easy to make, full of nutrient dense lentils and veggies, and wonderfully delicious. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten free!
What ingredients are needed for Red Lentil Soup?
This Red Lentil Soup calls for a variety of vegetables, herbs and spices, lentils, and a few other ingredients.
- Chopped onion, peppers, carrots, and a whole dried red chili pepper
- Dry red lentils
Herbs and spices
- Garlic, curry, cumin, parsley, paprika, cardamom, ginger, salt, white pepper
- Olive oil, vegetable broth, water, lemon juice
How do I make Red Lentil Soup?
Making red lentil soup is not difficult. Sauté the vegetables in olive oil and add the warm spices to bloom them. Pour in the broth and add the lentils, whole red pepper, and additional spices. Once the lentils are cooked – and it doesn’t take long – blend everything together till desired consistency. Finish with a touch of lemon juice and parsley to brighten the flavor and add a little color. And if you don’t like it blended, you can eat it as is without blending. It will be equally good.
What makes this soup a healthy choice?
- The lentils and vegetables in this soup provide a wide array of nutrients with onions and peppers providing vitamin C and carrots supplying a good amount of beta-carotene. But lentils are the nutritional star here.
- Lentils are rich source of plant proteins. In fact, one-quarter cup of dry red lentils provides about 13 gm of protein. Combine that with the fiber contained in lentils, about 9 grams per quarter cup, and you have a food that will sustain you until your next meal or snack.
- In addition, lentils are a good source of other nutrients, like iron, folate, and potassium. They’ve also been shown to have positive effects on blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Those are great reasons to include them in your menu, as I’ve written about before in my earlier post about lentils.
Time saving tips
Short on time or don’t feel like prepping fresh vegetables and herbs for the soup? No worries! Here are some time saving tips:
- Prep your veggies and herbs ahead of time, a day or two before you plan to make the soup. Then it’s just a matter of putting the soup together and cooking everything.
- Use frozen or canned vegetables. This will cut down on the time needed for cleaning and chopping. If using canned, be sure to rinse the vegetables to cut down on the added sodium, or use lower salt canned vegetables.
- If fresh herbs aren’t available or you don’t feel like cleaning and chopping them, opt for dried herbs. Simply substitute about 1 tsp. of dried herbs for every tablespoon of fresh. Your soup will still taste great!
Now, when you feel like adding a homemade soup to your menu, think of lentil soup…more specifically this Red Lentil Soup. It’s delicious, simple to make, and fits the bill when you need a gluten-free soup or vegan soup. You won’t be disappointed!
Red Lentil Soup
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. each curry and ground cumin
- 1 tsp each ground turmeric, paprika, and ground cardamom
- 2 cups vegetable broth, lower sodium
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup red lentils, dried, rinsed
- 1 whole dried, hot red chili pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- Heat oil in large pot, add onions, peppers, carrots and garlic and sauté until tender.
- Add curry, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cardamom and cook another minute stirring constantly.
- Pour in broth and water. Add lentils, dried chili pepper, ginger and parsley. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes until lentils are soft.
- Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender until desired consistency. If desired, skip this step and serve without blending.
- Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.