This Mediterranean red lentil soup is packed with fresh ingredients and flavors, making it a warm, tasty, and healthy dinner entree that the whole family will enjoy, even the kids ?
This soup brings back memories of my mom cooking it on cold winter nights to warm us up. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fried pita or french fries, and let the warm, cozy feeling fill your senses. (I know dipping fried pita or french fries sounds weird but trust me, it will make it even more delicious ?)
Did I mention that It’s vegan, easy to fix, and takes less than 30 minutes to cook? Yep, Meatless Mondays just got a lot tastier!
Is Red Lentil soup healthy?
- Lentils are a rich source of plant protein and can easily be considered a meat substitute.
- Lentils are rich in fiber, which supports regular bowel movements and the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Eating lentils can improve your overall gut function. (1)
- Lentils are also a great source of Iron, essential in building healthy red blood cells. Vegans and vegetarians usually lack Iron in their diets, but not anymore! (2)
- Red lentils are low in calories, and with their rich fiber content, you will be full at a less calorie intake, which will help in weight management.
- Finally, lentils contain a group of substances called Polyphenols. These substances have been related to some great health benefits such as anti-diabetic, cardioprotective (Good for your heart ?), and Anti-obesity too (Who doesn’t need a slimmer waistline? Seriously!) (3)
How to Prepare lentils for cooking?
A- Spread them out on a tray and discard any tiny rocks (Unfortunately, most brands on the market have rocks in them, and that’s why it’s essential to pick out those rocks before cooking)
B- There is no need to soak lentils in water before cooking because they are small and usually cook fast. Rinse off with water to remove any excess impurities, then drain.
C- The ratio of lentils to water is (1:5); 1 cup of dry lentils usually takes 5 cups of water to cook. Lentils absorb water quickly and almost double in size when cooked.
Red Lentil Soup Ingredients:
- Lentils: I prefer using red lentils for this recipe, because they dissolve as they cook giving the soup a naturally creamy texture!
- Onions and garlic: Adds nutrients and flavors.
- Carrots, Potatoes, and Tomatoes: Adds texture, color, and sweetness.
- Turmeric: Gives the soup it’s yellow color and has a lot of health benefits too!
- Cumin: Adds an earthy flavor which greatly enhance the taste
- Sea salt and black pepper: To taste.
- Water: I prefer using water instead of broth because water retains the natural and fresh taste of the ingredients and spices, but you can add your favorite broth if you want!
- Oil: Canola or vegetable oil to sauté the veggies.
- Pinch of chili flakes: Optional but recommended if you enjoy a nice kick but be careful not to put too much!
How to Cook Red Lentil Soup?
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic then cook until soft and fragrant.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes and sauté the veggies for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the drained red lentils and spices and stir for 2 minutes.
- Pour the water, increase the heat-to high and bring to boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes, carrots, and lentils are tender and easy to blend.
- Remove from heat then using a food processor or an immersion blender, puree the soup until creamy and smooth.
- Add back to the pot and bring it to boil. (If the soup thickens after blending add 1/2 a cup of water)
- Serve with lemon slices and chili flakes (optional).
- If you are using a countertop blender, make sure to puree a small batch and tighten the lid loosely (or remove the center cap from the lid); because the steam will create pressure which might cause a soup explosion in your kitchen ?. I would suggest covering the top with a dishtowel while grinding.
- To get a nice and creamy texture, make sure the lentils and the vegetables (especially the potatoes and carrots) are fully cooked and mashed. If they are undercooked, they will not blend properly, and the soup will not be as creamy.
- If the soup thickens after blending add 1/2 a cup of water.
- A squeeze of Fresh lemon juice will brighten all the flavors and brings this soup to life ?
How to Store and Freeze Red Lentil Soup?
Storage: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days
Reheat: Rewarm on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. You might need to add a little water when reheating because this soup recipe tends to thicken when refrigerated.
Freeze: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. As mentioned above, add a little bit of water when reheating from frozen because this soup recipe tends to thicken when refrigerated.