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This Week’s Recipe: Red Lentil Soup with Lime

Posted on: November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to fellow Americans! I’m not big on turkey, myself, and always eat “non-traditionally” on this holiday, so I thought I’d offer my turkey day alternative. Last week, fellow Seattle foodie (and fellow Pilates instructor! and fellow Brooke!) La Femme commented that lentil soup kept her warm and toasty in the winter. That reminded me of this lentil soup variation—definitely different, mildly acidic, and definitely fantastic! From the first time I made it, I fell in love!

Per cookbook author Deborah Madison’s suggestion, I served this over basmati rice, to give the soup more body. She also suggests adding pieces of pita that have been sautéed in olive oil until crisp—doesn’t that sound great!

Red Lentil Soup with Lime
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 c red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tbsp turmeric
4 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely diced (about 2 c)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds (or 1 tsp ground mustard)
1 bunch chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes (or to taste)
1 large bunch spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces
1 c cooked rice
4-6 tbsp yogurt

1. Put the lentils in a soup pot with 2 ½ qts water, then the turmeric, 1 tbsp of the butter, and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Puree for a smooth and nicer-looking soup, if desired.

2. While the soup is cooking, prepare the onion flavoring: In a medium skillet over low heat, cook the onion in 2 tbsp of the remaining butter with the cumin and mustard, stirring occasionally. When soft, about the time the lentils are cooked or after 15 minutes, add the cilantro and cook for a minute more. Add the onion mixture to the soup, then add the juice of two limes. Taste, then add more if needed to bring up the flavors. The soup should be a tad sour.

3. Just before serving, add the last tbsp of butter to a wide skillet. When foamy, add the spinach, sprinkle with salt, and cook just long enough to wilt. If the rice is warm, place a spoonful in each bowl. If it’s leftover rice, add it to the soup and let it heat through for a minute. Serve the soup, divide the spinach among the bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of yogurt.

I tell ya, this is great stuff, especially if you like the slightly sour like I do!!! And even if you aren’t celebrating a food-engorging four-day weekend, this is great comfort food on a chilly day.

Chilly? Yep, I’m sure Seattle has made national news. My Seattle suburb got down to 9 degrees last night, and my 50-mile roundtrip airport run on Monday took 8 ½ hours… never thought I’d spend the equivalent of a workday in a car, in such a small radius! I hope it’s over, now…… (and I hope LaFemme got to Tucson!)

Are you all celebrating Thanksgiving traditionally, or non-traditionally?

2 Responses to "This Week’s Recipe: Red Lentil Soup with Lime"

Thanks for this Brooke! I have a full bag of red lentils, and am never quite sure what to do with them, this sounds fantastic!

Hey Sara!
This is one of many great things to do with red lentils! Lots of Indian recipes use ’em, so try looking into that, as well.. I’ll be looking forward to a red lentil post from your blog, too! 😉

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