For the last several months, this soup has been a staple in my kitchen. This recipe is versatile, easy to master, and extremely healthy! It only takes 20 minutes to cook and one small bowl leaves you satisfied.
Total time: 25 minutes
This recipe was inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Red Lentil Soup. After my first time cooking it, I decided to drop a couple small tomatoes in, as well as some sage and thyme from my garden. The result was amazing — one of my favorite soups of all time. Red lentils are an awesome superfood. 1.5 cups of lentils contain 75g of protein, 89g dietary fiber, plus iron, magnesium, and essential amino acids. This means each small bowl of soup has 12.5g of protein.
This recipe is great to experiment with, and I’ve made it with tofu, carrots, and eggplant (on three separate occasions). If you’re adding another protein, add it at the same stage as the onions and be sure to add more broth so it doesn’t get too thick. This time, I used a single bay leaf in lieu of fresh herbs. Strong herbs are best added near the beginning of the soup so the flavors can mull.
- 1½ cups red lentils (rinsed and picked over for pebbles etc.)
- ¼ cup rice (I used short grain white rice)
- 1 big tomato or 3 small tomatoes
- 1 onion, sliced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp dried chili flakes (I used Aleppo and Marash chile flakes)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- Salt to taste, about 2 tbsp
- Lots of pepper (I used Black Penja peppercorns)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups broth (I used a vegetable buillon cube and an MSG-free dashi fish broth packet)
- castelvetrano olive
- greek yogurt
- a drizzle of good olive oil (I use Stonehouse)
- a pinch of coarse sea salt (I used Hawaiian Sea Salt)
Other garnishes I’ve tried are capers, sour cream, fried egg, soft boiled egg, and a squeeze of lime. Another variation is the spice — if you have Doenjang (Korean red bean paste), put it in near the end of browning the onions or it will burn. Be sure to use less than 3 tbsp to maintain the same spice level (I’d call it medium). If you are using dry chilis, put them in at the beginning to extract the spices into the oil. I recommend grinding up an insane amount of black pepper — about half a grinder’s worth. For the ultimate pepper flavor, don’t grind your peppercorns. Put them in whole and let them simmer in the soup so you can chomp down on them later. For extra protein, add a tablespoon of chia seeds.
- Chop onion and place in a big soup pan with some olive oil. To avoid onion tears I wear gloves, cut by the sink, and rinse the cutting board immediately after placing onions in the pot. Chop off the ends of the onion first (the onion’s basal plate) and then peel, halve, and chop quickly.
- Heat soup pot on medium heat.
- Add garlic, ginger, chili flakes, herbs and peppercorns if using.
- Stir for 5 minutes or so until just before the onions start to brown.
- If using chili paste, remove pot from heat and stir the paste in.
- Add white wine and stir.
- Pour in broth.
- Bring to a boil. While waiting, stir in salt and pepper.
- Once the broth boils, reduce heat to a simmer.
- Slowly pour in tomatoes, lentils, rice, and chia seeds if using.
- Simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
- After 20 minutes, taste to make sure the lentils have broken down. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Once the soup gets to desired thickness, spoon into bowls and top with dairy, olives or capers, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt.