This is a recipe I wish you had smell-a-vision for. It would convince you to make this immediately. This recipe is nothing fancy. Pretty much just beans, spices, and broth, but it is so good! If lentils weird you out, fear not. I was in your shoes until very recently.
Lentils are a food that I’ve never been a huge fan of. I became a little more open to the idea of lentils when I had them in an Indian dish and it was creamy, flavorful, and delicious. Here’s my general beef with lentils. There’s always too much bean skin for the amount of bean meat (these are things, right?), but these red lentils get softer and the skins aren’t as noticeable. Also, there’s no soaking like there are with other beans. You can find red lentils in the beans section of the grocery store.
There are a couple of great things about this recipe. It’s easy, low cost, and vegetarian friendly – you can easily replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. I served this pretzel bread, which I had never actually tried before. This was probably a mistake, because now it’s the only bread I want in my life. I definitely ate at least half the loaf while cooking the soup and taking pictures. Oops 😝
While the paprika butter was a nice touch and made it more aesthetically pleasing I don’t think that this makes or breaks the dish, so if you want to skip this step I don’t think anyone will notice. 😜
We had a couple friends over working on a project when I was making this soup. At least one of them (two including myself) were lentil doubters. I think we were all lentil likers (maybe lovers?) by the end of the evening. One of my favorite things about food is changing my mind about foods I thought I didn’t like, and this recipe was a great example of this.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- Salt and pepper
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch cayenne
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.
- Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Cover and keep warm. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thin soup with water, if desired, when reheating.)
- Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small skillet. Remove from heat and stir in paprika. Ladle soup into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with 1 teaspoon spiced butter and serve.