Super flavorful, easy, healthy, and inexpensive . . . I think this is the perfect recipe! It says it takes 45 minutes, but 30 minutes of that is just letting it simmer. If your local grocery store doesn't carry red lentils on the same aisle as the beans and rice, check the ethnic food section. I bought mine at Wal Mart, so they should be readily available and easy to find. I usually double this, just because we love it so much and go through the left-overs really quickly. According to my cost analysis, one serving costs only $1! I would highly recommend this one.
Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils (found at most grocery stores in the dried beans section)
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste (I used concentrated lemon juice, 1 tsp)
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I used more to taste b/c we love cilantro)
1. In a large pot, heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth, 1 cup water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or regular blender or food processor, puree half the soup then add it back to the pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. (We like our soup chunky, so I skipped this step completely.)
5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.
Image courtesy of www.figswithbri.com