It’s brrrrocious outside! And with the heater going 24/7 inside, I wake up each morning with a scratchy throat. By the end of the day, I’m always chilled and ready to get back under the covers. So what’s a gal to do? Make a big pot of comforting, warm soup, that’s what! Looking in the pantry, we found there was a LOT of red lentils. Apparently at the last trip to the store, more was purchased, thinking we didn’t have any at home, but in fact we had a big bag of it still, so now we had 2. Lentils make a great soup, and the red variety are no exception!
The flavors were inspired by my latest outing to a local restaurant where I had a lentil coconut soup of some sort. It was mighty tasty! So I thought to do something similar – but less coconut milk, more lentil. And it turned out to be a major hit! We love it spicy – so we add extra hot sauce at the end – but feel free to leave that out, and even the Thai chilies, if you don’t like the heat.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 Thai chilies, sliced thinly
- 2 T tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1T fresh grated ginger
- 2 t turmeric
- 2 t cumin
- 3 T sugar or agave
- 1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 small 6oz can coconut milk (you could use the large can, if you want, or use the reduced fat stuff, too)
- 2 C red lentils, rinsed and uncooked
- 2 qt vegetable broth
- juice from 1 large lemon (~2T)
- salt and pepper to taste
- hot sauce (optional)
- chopped peanuts (optional)
In a large soup pot, heat about 1-2T oil and cook the onion about 5 minutes until softened. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and Thai chilies, and cook another 5 or so minutes until it starts to get some color. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (~1t each at this point). Add the garlic and ginger, stir to fragrant. Add the tomato paste, turmeric, cumin, and sugar, cook another 2 minutes or so. Dump in the lentils and the broth – bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook about 20 minutes (until the lentils are tender). Finish by adding the artichoke hearts, coconut milk, and lemon juice, then taste and add more salt if needed (depending on the saltiness of the veg broth, this will vary greatly). Serve with an extra lemon wedge and your favorite hot sauce, maybe a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, maybe some crusty bread if you can eat it, and just let it warm you from within. Maybe next time I’ll add some kale or something green…
A random kitchen clean-out soup, but ended up being surprisingly delicious, and is definitely a repeat. I hope you get to try it on one of these cold winter nights, too!