Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spicy Red Lentil soup

Ok....I have a confession.....I like lentils. I really do. They are easy, tasty, so versatile....AND CHEAP! Maybe that is why I like them so much hehehe. I am a penny pinching princess. Now I am sure you have not guessed that from my previous postings confessing my love for thrift stores.

Now back to lentils I always keep a few pounds of them around but I normally use the standard greenish laden type. Thanks to WinCo and their wonderful bulk foods section I have been trying out yellow and red lentils. Now I WISH I could remember the price of them per pound. I want to say roughly 75c a pound? Which for this recipe, you will use approximately one pound of red lentils. Now I KNOW this is another soup's cold here in Utah and my husband and I are outside quite a bit and nothing warms us better than a nice hot bowl of soup.

So, let's start shall we? Start out with 1 cup red lentils (if you are celiac and purchased them at a bulk food bin like I did, RINSE them thoroughly. Just want to make sure there isn't any trace bits of glutified ickiness in them. You never know what scoops have been in the bin and it's just not worth it NOT to rinse.)
Place the red lentils in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Use a whisk to break up the chunks of lentils.

Next, add one 1" piece of ginger minced up to the water (or if you found the wonderful bottled minced ginger, use 1 teaspoon). I would use 1/2 a teaspoon ground ginger if you choose to go that route.

Next, add 2 pinches turmeric to the boiling soup. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
(now I took this picture more for looks then anything lol! You will need all of the ingredients listed, I just thought they looked pretty all put together)
Included are fresh sprigs of cilantro, tumeric, cumin seeds, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, and 3 dried red chiles. I used 3 of my Thai Red Dragons I grew then dried from my garden. You can use just about any sort of red chile pepper. Even left over ancho chiles from your Yucatan Stew ;) If using Anchos, use a half of a pepper and cut into three large strips.

After your lentils have simmered for roughly 10 minutes, start preparing the spices. In a small skillet, warm up 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Then add the chili peppers, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon bottled garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 minced garlic cloves). If the garlic starts to brown too quickly, reduce your heat. You only want to lightly saute the spices in the oil.

After about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes to the spicy oily mix.
Raise heat to a moderate high and saute stirring frequently until the tomatoes start to become tender and the skin is slightly wilted. *note* do not cook the tomatoes to a mushy state. You just want them partially cooked so they retain their structure but are nice and tender.

Once tomatoes are cooked, pour the contents of the skillet into the soup mixture blending well. Stir in a small handful of fresh cilantro (stems removed). Let simmer an additional 5-10 minutes. 

Serve, enjoy, and I DO appologize for the legumely after affects. It IS worth it. I promise hehehe ;)
Spicy Red Lentil Soup
cups Water
1 cup Dry Red Lentils
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 whole Dried Red Peppers
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2 pinches Turmeric
1 piece Inch-long Of Ginger Peeled And Minced
2 cloves Garlic (2 Cloves Fresh Equals 1 Teaspoon Of The Bottled Kind)
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, Halved
½ bunches Fresh Cilantro Leaves
Salt And Pepper

In a large sauce pan bring the 4 cups of water and a couple dashes of salt to a boil on high heat. Stir in rinsed red lentils, lower heat to a light simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
After 15 or so minutes, warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add red peppers (I used Thai Red Dragons, but any spicy red pepper will be great), cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the grape tomatoes and lightly salt and pepper. Continue cooking on medium until the tomatoes start to become tender. Then, stir tomatoes, spices, and olive oil into the simmering lentils and stir in the fresh cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.


  1. You made the lentil soup look so good! Love the finished product shot :) , and I have to say your arrangement of spices, with the spilled turmeric looks delish! Love that you're using those dragon chiles from your garden past summer :) ~shar

  2. I sure AM using those chiles, they are so tasty and add such a GOOD heat to dishes. I'm having fun taking pictures of food, can you tell ;) Thanks so much Shar!!!

  3. Looks yummy AND affordable. Thx for bringing the red lentils to my attention. The pics are beautiful....Do you get that talent from Jay?
    Warm hugs to go with the warm soup.

  4. You make me so hungry, your photos are great! I love all of your recipes, and I can't wait to try this one - it looks healthy and delicious!