I’m not sure if I ever had lentils before I met Mr. Pea. Now lentil soup is one of my favourite weekday meals. This dairy-free soup spiced with cumin, turmeric and garam masala is a surprisingly hearty lunch or dinner and pairs perfectly with naan, roti or even baguette. It also has a bit of cayenne to add some heat. You can garnish with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions or any other fresh veggies.
Lentils are a great source of protein in a plant-based diet; one cup has 18 grams of protein! They are also packed with a ton of vitamins and minerals; the same 1 cup has 90% of the daily folate you need and 37% of the recommended iron intake. The nutrition is pretty impressive especially considering how affordable lentils can be, especially if bought in bulk or from ethnic grocery stores.
Our go-to flavor for lentil soup is a combination of salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, cinnamon, bay leaf and cloves. Mr. Pea likes to just toss in spices as he goes without measuring so it took me awhile to actually get him to measure out and document this recipe. So you can easily play around with spices and quantities to get the flavour you like best. If you don’t like as much spice, tone down the cayenne and try using curry powder. We recommend using red lentils as they are the quickest to cook and give the soup a nice texture. However you do it, the recipe is simple, easy, and pretty fool-proof – you just boil lentils and water (1:3 ratio), add some spices and let the lentils fall apart as the soup simmers.
Simple Red Lentil Soup
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp garam masala
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove
for garnish (optional)
- Sautéed Mushrooms and chopped fresh Green Onions or
- Cinnamon Garam Masala with caramelized onions
- Bring water to a boil, and add lentils.
- Bring lentils and water to a boil again, cover and simmer for approx. 30 min. If water seems to be evaporating faster than the lentils are cooking, you can add up to another 1/4 cup of water.
- When lentils are ready (should be soft but not mushy), add spices and bring back to a simmer for another 10 min simmer until flavors combine and lentils are fragrant. Stir intermittently.