Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup
Recipe Type: Side Dish
This is a quick and easy (and very healthy) soup originally from Gourmet Magazine (September 2002) although it has been modified from the original. You can also pick up most of the ingredients at the farmers market and it freezes really well. Active time for chopping etc. is only 20 minutes; and start to finish it takes 40 minutes. You can experiment with this recipe by adding many different types of vegetables, herbs, and spices. And, as you can see by the note at the end, it can also be pureed to make a more elegant soup. The red lentils ensure that the color remains attractive whether pureed or served as originally prepared, and this soup would be particularly tasty made with the chicken stock with the cinnamon stick added.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned tomato
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, tomato, celery, cumin, and salt and sauté, stirring, 2 minutes. Add lentils, water, and broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Stir in parsley and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Alternate: use 5 ½ cups vegetable stock instead of water and chicken stock.
  4. Note from the Oakmont Farmers Market: I pureed this soup, and gently reheated it. I added the chopped parsley and cilantro a few minutes before serving, and served it with lemon wedges – the lemon was the perfect finishing touch and made the flavors and texture of the soup shine.