As I sit writing this post, it is apparent that fall has officially moved into the East Coast. The trees haven’t changed color yet, but it seems as if overnight, everyone’s biological clocks have switched seasons. I’m starting to see more people wearing sweaters and boots than t-shirts and flip-flops. Comfort food is the topic of choice on Pinterest and on the covers of food magazines. And somehow, once again, pumpkin and apple are getting into everything from decorations, to cake mixes, to coffees, and even sandwiches. Yep, it’s fall alright.
On a fall day such as today, where the temperature has hovered in the fifties all day, and the sun has been replaced by a dull, grey drizzly sky, all I feel like cooking (and eating) is soup. And not just any soup, but some type of hearty, warm up your bones kind of soup.
This red lentil soup is the perfect solution. It takes less than 10 minutes to throw together, and then cooks up quickly, with flavors that taste like it has been simmering on the stove all day. Pair it with a green salad or this bread recipe, and you have a perfect fall meal. I am including some optional ingredients to make this a bit spicier, you can leave them out if your taste buds are as wimpy as my family’s.
Red Lentil Soup
- 1 – 1 pound bag of red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 – 64 ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth (that’s 8 cups – if you are using homemade broth)
- 1 tablespoon oil or butter
- Medium onion
- 3 stalks of celery – chopped
- 1 large tomato, or 2 – 3 plum tomatoes – chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional Ingredients:
- 2 diced jalapeño peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Sautéed mushrooms
To begin, start by sautéing onion and celery with oil (and optional jalapeño pepper) in a large pot over medium-high heat. When onion is translucent and celery is softening, add the minced garlic, cumin, thyme, (cayenne) and broth. Then add the lentils, give it a quick stir and reduce the heat to medium. When the soup comes to a boil, turn it down and simmer until the lentils are fully cooked – about 15 – 20 minutes. Then stir in the tomato and cook for about five more minutes. Season to taste. I like to serve this topped with sautéed mushrooms, for added flavor and texture.
Enjoy! I’m off to unpack my sweaters. 😉