This winter has been unusually cold here in Northern California. Our winters are typically mild, with rain from November through February and temperatures in the 40’s at night and 50-60 during the day. Mixed in there, we often get weeks of even warmer sunnier weather. But this year, we’ve had freeze warnings, storms, hail, and even some snow the other night! Time for more soup recipes!
I’m trying to eat healthier these days in preparation for an upcoming trip to Mexico. I need to be able to fit into my summer dresses and bathing suits! Often I find that my comfort foods in the winter are not exactly good for you – lots of cheesy creamy things. But lentils are super healthy, and comforting at the same time. There are loads of different kinds of lentils though. So which to choose?
I had a couple of recipes for Red Lentil Soup, but I had a partially used package of green lentils that had been hanging around in my pantry so I decided to see what I could make with those. I have found that the easiest type of lentils to find in the stores around here are red, green, brown, and French Dupuy Lentils. Red lentils will cook quicker because the outer “shell” has been taken off. And you could certainly use them in place of the green ones in this recipe. Just cut down on the cooking time.
The key to a really flavorful soup is the base. I started with a diced onion which I sautéed in a little butter and olive oil. Then I added a whole array of spices, let them bloom for a bit, and then added the lentils and water. Super easy! The result was a delicious and hearty meal. I also made a garnish of paprika/mint butter that I adapted from a recipe from America’s Test Kitchens. It added a nice touch, but the leftovers the next day without it were just as satisfying.
Green Lentil Soup
- Le Creuset Dutch Oven or other heavy soup pot
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground garam masala
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 large cloves garlic finely chopped
- 8 cups water, chicken stock, or combination of both
- 12 oz green lentils picked over and rinsed
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt to taste
- ½ tsp fresh mint chopped
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add onion, a bit of salt, and cook till softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spices and garlic and allow to bloom for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute till it starts to caramelize a bit.
- Add the water and/or stock and lentils and about a tbsp of salt, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are very tender, about 30-40 minutes, checking water levels; add more water if needed. Start tasting after 30 minutes.
- While lentils cook, place 2 tbsp of butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add paprika and mint and set aside.
- Use an immersion blender to blend some of the lentils, leaving some whole for a nice texture.
- Stir in lemon juice, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Reheat butter if it has started to solidify.
- Serve soup with seasoned butter to pass at the table. A nice crusty bread and green salad make this a complete meal.