Lemon Lentil Soup

Lemon Lentil Soup

Like a bowl of sunshine, this lemony lentil soup is just the antidote for a gray, rainy day. We’ve been on the road for the past week, and a warming bowlful proved easy to toss together from pantry staples — a handful each of red lentils and yellow split peas simmered gently with a savory mix of carrots, onions and garlic, until the lentils just begin to give up their shape. Curry and ginger add some spice, and a generous amount of lemon juice at the last moment finishes it with a bright note.

Consider improvising within this cheerful end of the spectrum with other carotene-rich vegetables. We imagine adding some golden winter tomatoes the next time around, or perhaps some little cubes of yellow pepper. The stew-like texture of this soup depends on how the vegetables are cut, the aim is for a consistent size — called a brunoise for those of you sharpening your knife skills. If you have an extra moment, sautéing the vegetables and curry powder before adding the stock and lentils will tease out an extra punch of flavor. Lastly, a fresh snipping of cilantro or green onion adds a bit of painterly sparkle, to delight the eye as well as the palate.

Lemon Lentil Soup

2 cups yellow lentils (or mix of red and yellow), picked over, rinsed and drained
2 quarts vegetable or light chicken stock
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 – 2 carrots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)
1/2 cup lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and pepper

– In a large pot, combine lentils, stock, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the lentils are cooked through but still intact, about 20 minutes or more, depending on type of lentils. Add more stock or water to keep the lentils and vegetables covered while cooking, and to desired thickness. Stir in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Adapted from “Little Flower: Recipes from the Cafe” by Christine Moore.

Local ingredients: Onion from Black Kettle Farm; ginger from Wild Miller Gardens; carrots, garlic and cutting celery from the garden.

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14 Responses to Lemon Lentil Soup

  1. This looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  2. katrina says:

    Delicious! I love the warming spices of curry and ginger!

  3. azita says:

    If you must know, I practically live on soup and love lentils. This is the very first lentil soup I’ve seen that is not brown or mush-colored. It *does* resemble a bowl of sunshine! I have all the ingredients (including homemade stock) and I am psyched to make this very soon. I love that you don’t blend everything in a blender – texture in soup is often sacrificed to make a creamy one instead.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Creamy soup has its place, but too often reminds me of baby food… I like soups with some heft and substance, something you can wrap your spoon around!

  4. Lrong says:

    Wow, looks sooo delicious… I love lentil soups… however it is done…

  5. Norma Chang says:

    I certainly could use a huge bowl of your soup today. It is still so cold. When will spring arrive? I think Puxi Phil got it wrong this time.

    • leduesorelle says:

      I admit I was skeptical when I heard that he didn’t see his shadow and predicted an early spring for this year…

  6. maesprose says:

    I went to Whole Foods today looking for the yellow lentils… I only found yellow peas. I’m assuming they are not the same thing. What is the “official” name of yellow lentils. Should I go to an Indian food market?
    Thanks – this recipe looks incredible!

    • leduesorelle says:

      Hi there! Sorry for the confusion — there is a yellow variety of lentil called “toor dal” that’s common in Indian cookery. I used what I had on hand, a mix of red lentils and yellow split peas. The yellow split peas are larger, and lent more texture to the soup. Any of these or combination of them should work, just cook until you get the texture you want!

  7. Simona says:

    It does look like a bowl of sunshine!

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