Seriously Perfect Vegan Red Lentil Soup


Lentils. I feel like I am reading everywhere how wonderful and healthy they are and suggestions on ways to incorporate them. I just saw a great recipe for a tahini-lentil gig that I am going to try this week, but before that, I was on the hunt for a perfect lentil soup.

The lentil soup image I get in my head is the stuff I see in the store of brown lumpy mess with veggies poking out here and there. I just can’t get down with that.

I was paging through Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite cookbook this morning and her recipe for Red Lentil Soup with Lemon sounded worth a try.

I am glad I followed through on this one. It was superb. I made some adjustments to the spices, decreasing cumin a bit and adding turmeric, but otherwise kept it the same. It can be tricky naming dishes sometimes – at first the with lemon part of her title put me off, but then I realized I probably would have done the same addition since having a balance of an acid in your dishes really makes the flavors jump. However when I tasted it, lemon was not the first flavor to come to mind. The flavors were an incredible medley of the smokey cumin, the interesting and lively flavor of turmeric, the base of garlic, and the equal distribution of lemon and salt which is barely noticeable but at the same time, are the ingredients that make you taste all the others. If you make this and are not immediately wanting to finish your bowl so you can have another, add some salt. Stir, taste and perhaps add more.

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The original recipe recommends pureeing only half. I plunged my immersion blender into the pot and went for broke. I pureed most of it and don’t regret that decision. It was creamy without a hint of dairy in sight. I did add a cup of chickpeas for a little something something in it.

I paid Emilie a nickel to try it. She gave it a thumbs up and had two more bites. The husband hurt himself he ate so much of it. I may have it again for breakfast.

Seriously Perfect Vegan Red Lentil Soup
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small to medium onions chopped up
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (get the squeezable tube not the cans – so much easier to have on hand!)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • 2 carrots shredded on cheese grater
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (or more if desired) of chickpeas
  • more salt and pepper if needed
  1. Heat a pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and dump in onions, garlic and carrots. Salt and pepper them and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Then add in tomato paste, cumin, turmeric and cayenne. Stir to coat and evenly distribute all of that good stuff.
  2. Add lentils and water. Keep at an active simmer (not boiling but not just hanging out doing nothing) for about 30 minutes. The lentils will start to break down – taste to make sure they are tender.
  3. Puree in a blender or ideally, use an immersion blender right in the pot. I love that gadget.
  4. Add lemon juice, chickpeas and salt and pepper. Taste and see if you need more salt.


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  • Caitlin

    Perfect is an understatement. Literally my first attempt at making soup and was SUCH a hit!