I was having lunch with some friends yesterday when the subject of lentils came up. Some thought they were a waste of calories, and others thought they were so healthy that they would go for lentils whenever they got the chance. I, for one, love lentils, but to be fair I don’t love just any lentils, I love red lentils that make lentil soup.
“It’s probably the most widely ordered soup,” said one of my friends, and I would probably agree. When it’s cold, and when I’m feeling a bit homesick nothing can remedy the situation better than a bowl of hot lentil soup.
I don’t know what it is about the soup that makes me feel better; drinking does in fact comfort me, but I think the process of making it that is the most powerful.
Cooking is my way of unwinding and getting centered, but come to think of it, it’s not that either. I think it’s the fact that so many healthy local ingredients go into lentil soup that I know for certain that I would make my mother proud. It’s also the sort of soup that anyone can make.
You can make a thick soup and enjoy it with slices of bread and butter and make a meal out of it. Or, you can thin it down and pair it with a salad and a grilled piece of meat. Whatever you do, lentil soup is a hearty, heartwarming dish that is packed with protein and vitamins.
Time (1 hour)
- 2 cups red lentils
- 2 tbsp corn oil
- 5 cups boiled water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 1 potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 loaf Arabic/ pita bread cut into small squares (2cmx2cm)
- ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 lemon, cut into four wedges
- 1 pot
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 baking sheet
- Hand blender
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Wash and soak the lentils in cold water rinsing out any starch in them. Once rinsed, place the lentils in the sieve and let drain.
- In a large pot heat the oil and add the chopped onions and leeks. Sautee until soft.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the lentils and the boiling water
- Finally, stir in the cumin, salt, pepper and turmeric and cover.
- Simmer on low heat for about 30-45 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are tender and ready.
- Place the bread squares on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and crispy. About 6-10 minutes. You can also use the grilling option instead.
- Remove soup from heat and puree it with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. If you feel that the soup is too thick add some boiling water until the soup reaches the desired consistency.
- Garnish the soup with some fresh parsley and serve with some toasted bread and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.