Red Lentil Soup
While my pantry is always stocked with every variety of lentil imaginable, I tend to neglect the red ones until wintertime comes and soup season is at its peak. And each year I am reminded of how delicious red lentils are, how fast and easy they are to cook, and how stupid I am for not having been eating them more often during the year.
Red lentils were *made* to be turned into soup. They cook fast and break down quickly into a thick, hearty base that can be further pureed into a velvety-textured soup… but certainly need not be if you can’t be bothered. My previous go-to recipe for Red Lentil soup is from Cooking Light; it takes almost no time and effort as far as prep goes, and if you use an immersion blender instead of a food processor to puree it, it’s even easier. (Once pureed, I think this soup makes an excellent food to share with baby).
Recently, I encountered a new recipe for Red Lentil Soup–from the back of the Bob’s Red Mill Red Lentil package, of all places–that has elbowed its way into our regular winter repertoire. This one has a bit more texture than my previous standard (it’s not pureed, though if you wanted to share it with a baby you most certainly could puree it), but it’s equally easy and fast to prepare. Both recipes draw heavily on pantry staples and require little by way of fresh ingredients (a bonus, since between the piles of snow outside and the screaming newborns inside, I’m essentially a shut-in these days): you can use frozen spinach and canned crushed or diced tomatoes for the latter recipe, and fresh onions and carrots are easy enough to come by (thank you, Fresh Direct) and last quite some time. If you wanted to boost the nutrition content even further, you could swap in some well-chopped kale, collard greens or swiss chard for the spinach (I’m always looking for painless ways to use more of these dark leafies).
Personally, I double both recipes every time I make them to ensure enough leftovers.
Both recipes above fall into the modest 250-350 calorie-per-serving range (exact nutrition info provided with the recipe links), are loaded with filling and cholesterol-lowering fiber, and, incidentally, are edible with one hand while standing up and holding a baby in the other hand. (In case your criteria for an acceptable meal is the same as mine is.) All of the health benefits I’ve waxed poetic about previously with regard to legumes apply to red lentils as well, and I’m also a big believer in bean soups as a great snack or meal component to help keep winter pounds from creeping on.Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.