Yes, you're right, red lentils aren't really red, they're orange! But that just makes things all the more interesting when discovering a new food! Red lentils are found widely in Indian and middle eastern cuisine, and until last night's dinner I'd never really cooked them. And boy have I been missing something! Red lentils make a wonderfully tasty and thick soup that's high in protein and is a meal in itself. And apparently they are often added to soups and stews as a thickener.
Okay, I'll admit only two out of three young children enjoyed my s0up, but that's just because honestly it really doesn't look so great, kind of like split pea soup, only a different color. Serve it with some homemade whole wheat croutons, some tasty black olives, and a huge salad (with some feta cheese thrown in, yumm!), and you've got yourself a great meal, especially now that it's soup weather!
Serves 6 roughly
- 2 cups red lentils
- 1 large onion
- 7 cups water
- 2 tablespoons msg free soup/boullion powder (optional)
- 2 tsp cumin (I actually use 1 tblsp, but we like things spicy)
- salt and pepper to taste
- carrots, celery, potato chunks, fresh parsley to add to soup (optional)
Stir fry the chopped onion in a little olive oil. Add lentils and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer roughly 30 minutes until lentils have broken down and a thick soup results. Add additional vegetables if desired and cook until those vegetables are soft, say another 2o minutes. Check the thickness of the soup and add water if desired. Because the soup is thick it has a tendency to burn, so stir ever ten minutes and don't leave it unattended.
The traditional middle eastern soup also includes lemon juice, so while I chose to omit it since I'm not a fan of tartness in my soup, you might enjoy it. Try squeezing a little lemon juice over your soup for a little exotic food experiment, and while you're at it a few drops of olive oil on top are also traditional. Enjoy!