Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Oh the weather outside is frightful…cold…frigid…very winter-like for early December. Perfect soup weather. And perfect running weather.

That’s right bitches. I ran outside in 20° weather yesterday and today. And today I ran my best 5K time – 25 minutes. And then, just for good measure, I ran another half a mile. Total mileage and timeage? 3.6 miles in just under 30 minutes.

Now I swear I’m not bragging. I’m just amazed by myself. In high school, when we were forced to run at crew practice, my friend and I were the last people to finish because we walked most of the way. So guys, if I can do it, so can you. I swear.

Now, once you finish running, or just standing outside for 2 seconds, you’ll need something to warm you up. And I’ve got that covered. You will need a bowlful of red lentil and vegetable soup. It’s like tomato soup with substance, a bright sunny kick from some lemon juice, and a nice, warm cumin flavor.

Cumin reminds me of my dad’s chili, which reminds me of being toasty in winter.

Toasty up your insides. Make this soup. Maybe add some green beans, because that’s kind of what I want to do next time I make it. And there will be a next time, and a time after that, and a time after that…….

Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup
yields 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
6 ounce can tomato paste (
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne or Aleppo pepper, or more to taste
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils, picked through for stones and debris
1 handful kale, washed and trimmed off of stems and ribs
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large pot (I used my Dutch oven), warm the oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, 1-2 cups water, lentils, and kale. (If you want to add any other vegetables or potatoes or anything, do that here.) Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. ( I add about another teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. ) Using an immersion or regular blender, puree about half of the soup. It should still be somewhat chunky, not completely smooth. Reheat if necessary, then stir in the lemon juice. Serve the
soup topped with a drizzle with olive oil andParmesan.

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