Red Lentil Soup
Benefits of Lentils
Lentils are little powerhouses of nutrients and energy, and an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fibre.
This high fibre content also makes them of special benefit in the management of blood sugar disorders, as it helps prevent blood sugar from rising rapidly after a meal. And, to top it off, they are also a good source of lean protein and folic acid 1.
Red Lentil Soup
Red lentil soup is one of my favourites, especially during Ramadan. This simple but delicious soup is an excellent way to break your fast, after dates and water. I like to add a squeeze of lime or a small spoonful of plain yoghurt to mine for a little ‘extra something’.
Soaking or sprouting lentils before cooking them makes a big difference to their ‘digestibility’ so plan ahead and give them a good soak before you cook them.
I never used to soak or sprout my lentils and often found that they would cause gut issues and discomfort. Soaking and/or sprouting has definitely made a difference to that, so I’d highly recommend you try ot out if it’s not something you do already.
Just soak them overnight in clean water, then drain them and rinse them and cook like normal.
- If you have a sprouting tray, that’s probably the easiest way to go.
- If not, there are other ways to sprout. My sprouting tray broke, so I had to get creative. I soaked my lentils
- over night
- then drained them in a colander, spread them out and rinsed them several times a day. It worked just fine the last time I did it though admittedly, it’s a bit more work than a neat little tray.
- If you are sprouting, always be careful to look for mould or any sliminess. You definitely don’t want either!
- Sprouting lentils takes about 48 hours in my experience.
- Making soup with sprouted red lentils, I found that the lentils don’t cook to a mush like un-sprouted ones do. They are more textured, even after cooking them for much longer so, if you want a smooth soup, you’ll need to blend it.
Spices for Red Lentil Soup
This recipe calls for Baharat spice which is a Middle Eastern Spice Mix. It’s not absolutely essential and the recipe still tastes great without it, but it does make a yummy addition.
You can buy Baharat spice blend in Middle Eastern markets or, you can make your own Baharat Spice Mix.
- 2 cups split red lentils (rinsed and soaked overnight)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped (use a few celery leaves too)
- 1/8 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1tsp baharat spice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 200ml vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 1 slice of ginger, whole (don’t chop this)
- 1tbs butter/ghee
- 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the lentils and soak them overnight.
- Lightly fry the onion, celery, carrot, red pepper and garlic on medium heat until the onions are translucent.
- Add the spices and continue to cook for another couple minutes.
- Add the lentils, water, vegetable stock, slice of ginger and about 1ltr of water and simmer until the lentils are completely soft (around 30 – 40 minutes, depending on your stove).
- Remove and discard the ginger slice.
- You can eat the soup as is or whiz it smooth in a blender.
- Add the fresh coriander just before serving.
1 Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopaedia of Healing Food. New York: Atria Books.