This very simple soup in one of my all-time favorites. We use split red lentils, fire roasted red peppers and a few simple pantry ingredients to make the most delicious homemade soup. Not only that, but it’s also very good for you! This soup is loaded with fiber, protein and fresh vegetables. No creams or thickeners are necessary.
I love soup recipes. There’s just something so satisfying about making homemade soup and using fresh ingredients. And for a recipe such as this one, the soup can definitely be a meal. The fiber and protein will see to you feeling full.
What are Red Lentils?
Lentils are members of the legume family. A legume, basically, is a plant which produces pods. Lentils are sort of a cousin to the pea, especially the split pea, which shares a similar texture and appearance. Red lentils have a mild flavor which can be described as earthy with a subtle sweetness as well. They are excellent for cooking and wonderful in terms of nutrition. They are an excellent source of fiber, protein and potassium.
For this recipe, the red lentils are going to be the star of the show but will share some of the spotlight with fire roasted red peppers. Fire roasted red peppers commonly are found in jars at most supermarkets. They have a wonderful, deep flavor which really brings the natural flavor of the red lentils to life. And don’t worry, they’re not hot at all. They’re simply regular red peppers which have been roasted over a flame and have had the skin removed.
The foundation of our soup of is a traditional mirepoix which is simply sauteed onion, celery and carrots. We’ll add a little minced garlic, some turmeric, black pepper, zest of a lemon and fresh lemon juice. Again, none of these flavors overwhelm and all work so wonderfully together to give us a most vibrant and delicious soup.
Of course, we’ll need a liquid base and I like to use a good chicken broth. Specifically, I really like a good chicken bone broth. It’s very full flavor and gives us a great foundation for the soup. But feel free to use any chicken broth or stock. You can also use vegetable broth to keep the recipe vegetarian or vegan.
This homemade soup requires very minimal preparation. Chop up an onion, a couple of carrots and a few ribs of celery. Rinse the lentils and you’re ready to get cooking.
You can use a large pot or Dutch oven. Place over medium heat on the stovetop and add the vegetable oil. When hot, add the onions, celery and carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Then add the garlic and sauté for another 1 minute. Garlic can burn quickly so it only needs about a minute on the heat. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat low and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.
Blend to Desired Consistency
Once the soup is done, it’s ready to be blended. The absolute best way to do this is with an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, it’s a simple to use, affordable appliance that is perfect for soups such as this. I usually blend the soup to a very creamy consistency. If there’s a few chunks of vegetables, that’s totally fine. In fact, it’s common to leave a portion of the soup out of the blending process, then add back in to give the soup some additional texture. If the soup is too thick, you can add some water to thin it out.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a standard blender, but be certain to let the soup cool first. You do NOT want the blend hot soup and it will build up pressure and can blow the top off of the blender. You can also use a food processor for this step.
If you don’t have any kind of a blender, you can use a potato masher and just mash away. The lentils break apart easily and you’ll still get a very fine soup.
You soup is now ready to serve! As with most soups, you can add any favorite toppings such as croutons. I especially like to add some fresh chopped parsley. Other popular toppings for lentil soup include bacon bits, pepitas/pumpkin seeds (my favorite!), nuts, seeds and watercress.
Freezing and Storage
We love to enjoy this soup year round and it’s also perfect for a meal later in the week as part of meal planning. This soup is excellent for freezing. Simply place the desired amount in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 4 months. It will also keep well in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.