This pretty and incredibly flavorful soup looks and tastes like far more work than it actually is. Red lentils (also known as masoor dal) cook very quickly and lend a wonderful creaminess to this pureed soup that belies its low fat nature while the carrots and a little sun dried tomato bring a touch of sweet to the savory toasted spices. Like many soups, much of the cooking time is hands off but unlike some others this one is done in about half an hour, making it a great soup for a weeknight. It’s a very easy soup to veganize using vegetable broth and soy yogurt and works well with any other type of broth or bouillon you have in your pantry. It’s also a great way to use up the sorrier looking carrots that aren’t quite dead yet but that no one will eat willingly on their own.
For another twist, you could also add a small bell pepper when cooking the onions and carrots to add another layer of flavor–red being the obvious choice, but yellow or orange would work just fine too. Using just a little red chili will give it a touch of heat, but can be omitted if your family doesn’t like spicy food. If they do, feel free to add chili flakes with abandon or serve with a good hot sauce at the table.
Red Lentil Soup
About 6 cups
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin (depends on how much you like cumin)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz carrots, chopped or baby cut
4 sun dried tomato halves, chopped
3 1/2 cups broth or 3 1/2 cups water and 2 bouillon cubes
1 cup red lentils
smoked or regular paprika or chili powder
Heat the oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat and add the spices. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so, then add the onion and carrots and stir to coat the veggies with the toasted spice paste. Cook the veggies until they start to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes, water/bouillon or broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or so, until lentils and carrots are soft. Puree with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender until smooth. Pour into bowls and garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of smoked paprika or chili powder and serve with crusty bread for dipping.