Meatless Monday - Spicy Red Lentil Soup or Stew

Three Key Ingredients - Split Red Lentils Three Key Ingredients - Ginger I am always on a mission to find another soup or stew recipe. This one did not disappoint. As is usual for me, I made some adaptations...

Split Red Lentils
Three Key Ingredients - Split Red Lentils

Three Key Ingredients - Ginger
Three Key Ingredients - Ginger

I am always on a mission to find another soup or stew recipe. This one did not disappoint. As is usual for me, I made some adaptations to the recipe. When I cook, I tend to make enough for a meal and then pack some in provision boxes for the freezer. The original recipe did not call for any onion, and I am a cook who loves the added flavors of onion. I also noted some ways to add some more heat to this dish if desired.

Three Key Ingredients - Jalapeno Peppers
Three Key Ingredients - Jalapeno Peppers

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

– Original recipe from Vegetarian Times - 2008

Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Spicy Red Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces dried split red lentils
  • About 4 cups of vegetable stock, divided
  • 2 - 15-ounce cans Fire Roasted diced tomatoes. Hunt’s is my go to brand.
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger ( you can substitute ground ginger if you do not have fresh. Start with about 1 ½ teaspoons and check for flavors)  See added noted on ginger below.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • About 5 or 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 - 15-ounce cans light, unsweetened coconut milk or one 15 ounce can of coconut milk and about 1 ½ cups of stock to thin. See notes below on coconut milk.
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate or paste, optional but adds a depth of flavors
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder. Be careful as this spice stains.
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • Optional Garnish:  ¼ - ½ cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

    1. Simmer about 2 - 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock.
    2. Add in pound of lentils and cook about 12 minutes until the lentils are tender.
    3. Strain off any liquid at this point as this is very starchy. There will be little wasted liquid.
    4. If desired, blend lentils with whisk for rustic texture, or purée in food processor for creamier feel. I like a bit of texture here, so I leave them broken or mash some with a potato masher.
    5. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add in the onions and jalapeño peppers and saute´ for about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and ginger and cook for about two minutes.
    6. In a blender or food processor, pulse these sautéed vegetables until smooth. This step could be omitted if you favor a chunkier soup or stew.
    7. Place this mixture back in the skillet and rewarm adding the tamarind, coriander, cumin and turmeric and bloom these spices about three minutes.
    8. Add in the tomatoes whole or processed in the blender or food processor, depending on your taste along with the coconut milk.
    9. Add in the prepared lentils and simmer about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You can add more stock at this point if the soup is too thick for your preferences.
    10. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Ideas for adding more heat. Do not saute´ the jalapeño peppers or the ginger. Or, add in about ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Hints for Ginger --When buying a fresh piece of ginger, look for one that is firm and double the size you think you will need. Scrape the skin off with the back side of a spoon or a grapefruit spoon. Grate this ginger on a micro-plane. Store any unused ginger in the freezer. Then you can pull this out of the freezer as needed. Remove the skin and grate while this is still frozen for the best results.

Hints for Coconut Milk–If you cannot find the light coconut milk in your grocery, you have options. Buy the can of regular coconut milk and only use about ½ of the can in the recipe and add in about ½ – ¾ cup of stock. I always use stock over water to add more flavors. Freeze the second half of the coconut milk for a use later.

Enjoy!