There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day. And we’ve been getting quite a few
extra chilly blistering cold days in NYC. The perfect opportunity to whip up a pot of Red Lentil Vegetable Soup. Thick, hearty and full of flavor, this soup will warm you up on the coldest of cold days. I know some people don’t consider soup to be a main course. But trust me, this Lentil Vegetable Soup will leave your belly full all on it’s own. You can serve smaller portions as an appetizer as well. The soup would pair nicely with my Lemon Garlic Branzino.
Now it’s important that you use red lentils for this soup. If not the taste and texture will be off. Red lentils are sweet, tender and cook down to a mush. They also cook very fast so it’s no need to soak them. However, you can soak them for 20 minutes if you’d prefer, to cut down the cooking time. Red lentils also swell while cooking. Which brings me to the next point… I used four cups of broth in this recipe for a thicker, almost stew like soup. But if you like a thinner soup you can add two additional cups of broth. Also note that the soup will get thicker in the fridge while storing, and you may need to add a little broth or water while reheating to adjust the consistency.
This Red Lentil Vegetable Soup is extremely versatile otherwise. You can add additional vegetables to the soup to make it hardier if you please. I just add a bag of frozen mixed vegetables when I don’t have fresh carrots and celery on hand. The usual carrots, corn, green beans and sweet peas blend. And the soup is just as good. But word to the wise- don’t leave out the smoked paprika. It adds a layer of smoky flavor that can’t be achieved with regular paprika. And the soup will taste like something is missing without it. Also, the turmeric is what gives the soup it’s color. Now let’s get cooking!
Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 small carrots (peeled & sliced)
- 2 large celery stalks (sliced; reserve leaves)
- celery leaves (coarsely chopped)
- 1 small yellow onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Peel and slice the carrots and set aside.
- Cut off the leaves from the celery stalks. Then slice the stalks and coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside.
- Finely chop the onions and crush the garlic cloves. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a 3 qt stock pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the pot and sauté until slightly tender.
- Add the red lentils to the mixture and give the pot a good stir.
- Season the mixture with the smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and a dash of sea salt and black pepper. Sauté for a few minutes to absorb the seasonings.
- Now add the vegetable broth to the pot and give it another good stir. Season to taste with additional sea salt and black pepper.
- Turn down the heat and cover the pot. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir the pot about every 10 minutes. The soup will get thicker as the lentils swell and can start to stick/burn.
- For a thinner soup, add two more cups of vegetable broth, stir and let the soup simmer for five more minutes.
- Turn off the heat and gently stir in half of the chopped celery leaves.
- Let the soup cool for five minutes before serving. Garnish the bowls with the other half of the chopped celery leaves. Enjoy.