Red Lentil Soup

This soup is a favorite amongst my clients who come to me for weight loss or those who want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet. It is easy to prepare, nutritious, delicious and freezes well. 

Unless making it for one person (this makes 4 bowls) I suggest DOUBLING the recipe. I always regret it when I don’t! This recipe makes 7 cups.

Another option is to not add the cup of water. Not adding it will of course make it thicker.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  Pinch of ground chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cups water (do not add this if you like thick soup)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  •  Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

 

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder and sauté for 2 minutes longer to intensify the flavor.
  3. Add broth, 1 cup water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20-25  minutes.
  4. Stir in lemon juice. Stir, taste and add more if necessary. Stir in cilantro.
  5. Taste and add salt if necessary.

 

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Tex-Mex Quinoa, Black Beans & Corn Salad

Tex-Mex Quinoa, Black Beans & Corn Salad

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced or halved
  • 1 cup black beans (if canned, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped. Some saved for garnish.
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped (optional)

Dressing

Use the recipe for this Southwest Bean Salad here

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Let quinoa cool. This step can be done 1 day in advance.
  2. In a large bowl combine the bell pepper, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, and corn. Set aside and refrigerate until quinoa has cooled.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  4. Once quinoa is cooled add the quinoa to the bowl of vegetables. Add the dressing and toss gently to coat.
  5. Top with avocado and green onions and extra cilantro if you wish.
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Maria’s Curried Red Lentils and Greens Soup

2 + 1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, use less if you want less spice
2 cups, about 1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Sweet potato, peeled and diced, optional
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, I prefer these taste-test award winning organic bpa free tomatoes
6 cups of water (decrease to 5 cup if you prefer it thicker like a stew. If adding the sweet potato use 6 cups)
1 can coconut milk, low fat or reduced fat
3 packed cups of Swiss chard or kale, stems removed, leaves chopped or spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
If desired, finely chopped cilantro to garnish

Put the lentils in a colander under running water and check them for any debris and make sure they’re rinsed and clean.

Grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric and cayenne pepper together with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

In a soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium heat. Add the ground spice mixture to the oil and fry for about 1 minute, mixing continuously with a spoon. They will become very fragrant. Be sure not to burn.

Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger and sweet potato if using. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add another tablespoon of oil if the bottom of the pot gets dry.

Add the lentils, tomatoes, water, salt and fresh pepper as well. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 20 minutes. The time will depend. The easiest way is to check on your lentils as you cook them. Cooking times vary depending on how large the pan and simply the size of lentils themselves. Simply have a taste and judge the cooking time accordingly

Add the coconut milk, the Swiss chard, kale or spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with freshly chopped cilantro, if desired  Serves 6.

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