I’ve made two soups lately … one was pretty good and the other was really good. This one was the “really good.” I’ll post “pretty good” later, since it’s still worth sharing, especially with a few tweaks that I would recommend.
Lentils are such a great ingredient. They are amazingly good for you, they are cheap, they cook quickly, you can always have them in your cupboard since they don’t go bad, and they work well with a variety of flavors. I haven’t been able to get enough coconut curry lately (our local restaurant Taste of Asia has a great red curry coconut soup that has just enough heat to clear out this sick lady’s sinuses).
This recipe comes from a blog that’s new to me, Sprouted Kitchen; I think it will be a regular visit for me, as a lot of the recipes look intriguing to me (we’re trying to eat a little lighter this holiday season so we can indulge at the right times).
A few notes about this recipe: I thought it was great as-is. I forgot the nutmeg, didn’t use any garnish and used lemongrass from a squeezey-tube. JR thought it was missing something, namely meat. This would be great served over shredded chicken in addition to the brown rice that we had with it. I also had a brain fart (common when you are sleep-deprived) and thought as I was about to serve the meal, “There are no veggies in this meal,” so I quickly steamed a carrot/broccoli/cauliflower mix that I had. IMO, cauliflower and curry are a great combo. I totally forgot about the pile of chopped spinach that I had sitting next to the stove to add to the pot at the last minute. So we got lots of veggies with this, but I think I might also add some carrots or cauliflower to this next time for a little more “interest.” That said, use whatever you have on hand; the spices and the coconut make a great base.
Spiced Lentil Soup
1 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed (green suggested)
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric OR curry powder
2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layer removed, lower portion finely minced
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. cardamom (I didn’t have any grated cardamom, so I popped 4 pods into the broth while the lentils cooked; just be sure to warn people not to eat them)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I am always skeptical of cinnamon flavor in savory foods, so I used a scant 1/2 tsp)
pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
3 Tbsp. lemon, lime or orange juice
a few handfuls of swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 cup flake coconut, toasted (optional)
chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Add the rinsed lentils, broth, thyme and tumeric or curry powder to a large pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
While the lentils cook, heat the coconut oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute until just browned (I got mine pretty brown to add more depth of flavor). Add the lemongrass, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes and some fresh ground nutmeg and saute another minute. Add the onion mixture to the lentils and stir, keeping the heat on a low simmer.
Add the coconut milk and greens and simmer another five minutes, stirring occasionally until just wilted. Taste for salt and spice and add as you prefer. Finish with the citrus juice and serve warm with toasted coconut flakes and cilantro on top.