Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and Cilantro

Here’s a soup that says, “goodbye summer and hello fall!” This red lentil soup has a deep cumin and chile flavor offset by lemon and cilantro. It is based on the Turkish soup called Mercimek Corbasi and is vegan, gluten-free, and protein-packed. Pair with home-milled muffins or cornbread, and add a salad for a complete meal.

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and Cilantro

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ can 6 oz. tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chile powder, more to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cups red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of ½ or more lemon - add to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro to sprinkle on top (about 3 tablespoons), more to taste

Cook and Prep Time: about 45 mins. Serves: 4

Directions: In a 5.5 or 6 quart dutch oven, add olive oil, diced onion, and garlic. Saute one minute, and then add tomato paste, cumin, chile powder, salt, and pepper. Cook a few minutes more to intensify flavor. Add broth, water, red lentils, and diced carrot. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add juice of ½ lemon or more to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle tops with chopped fresh cilantro.

Note: Red lentils cook faster than brown or green, so if you want more texture to your lentils, you may lessen the cooking time.

Option 1: Use an immersion blender to puree some of the lentils for smoother texture. (Alternatively, you can ladle half of the soup into your blender, blend to desired consistency and then return to the pot.)

Option 2: Add more protein, texture, and taste by adding in a cup, or more, of shredded or diced leftover rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breasts. (Only add after you do the immersion blend if you want to make the soup base smoother.)

Option 3: This soup will be on the “thicker” side, so if your family prefers a thinner soup, you can lessen the amount of lentils. Try 1 ½ to 1 cup(s) and if it’s still too thick for your taste, then do Option 1.

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