Do you know the word association gameâ€¦I say a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind?Â Well when anyone says â€œLentilâ€ my first thought is â€œYentlâ€â€¦strange association, I know.Â And Iâ€™m not a big Yentl fan, so maybe itâ€™s not surprising that Iâ€™ve never cooked with lentils before.Â Or maybe itâ€™s just the fact that I donâ€™t know what the heck to do with them!Â
Some tidbits about Lentils:
- Health magazine selected lentils as one of the worldâ€™s healthiest foods.
- Lentils should not be eaten raw and some require soaking overnight before preparation.Â Be sure to read the package before cooking.
- Lentils are a great source of protein, containing almost all essential amino acids.
- Lentils are high in fiber, with green lentils having higher fiber content than red lentils.
- Lentils have high iron content, making them good for preventing iron-deficiency.
Iâ€™m disappointed in myself for not introducing this healthy food to my familyâ€™s diet sooner!
Recently I was at a restaurant (see American Flatbread article) and had the pleasure of sampling their new lentil soup.Â It was delicious! So I thought Iâ€™d try to make a lentil soup for my family for meat-free Monday.Â Â The recipe I found was not like the restaurants (theirs had more of a tomato flavor) but it was just as good. Â My husband really liked it and my 7 year old ate some and said it was good.Â I think the texture threw him off a bit as itâ€™s partly chunky and partly pureed.Â But I loved it and will definitely make this again and again.Â My only complaint was that the original recipe made enough for one family meal with just a little leftover.Â I will definitely double the recipe next time!Â I hope you enjoy!
Lentil Soup with Lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
1 (32 ounce) carton chicken broth (I used vegetable broth to make it meat-free)
1 cup red lentils (I used green lentils because thatâ€™s what I had already purchased)
1 large carrot, diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 pinch chili powder
1.Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion has turned golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder. Cook and stir 2 minutes more until the spices are fragrant.
2.Stir in the chicken broth, lentils, and carrot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes.
3.Pour half of the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Do not puree all of the soup, leave it a little chunky.
4.Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro, then season to taste with salt. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of chili powder to serve.