Nothing takes away the winter chill quite like a bowl of hot soup. The smell of it simmering on the stove alone can elicit that feeling of warmth. So why aren’t more people making it? Sure canned and boxed soups are convenient, but they never taste quite as good (or as nutritious) as their homemade counterparts. Making soup doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. And homemade soups can generally serve large groups of people, can easily be frozen, or last for several meals.
My favorite soup recipe doesn’t require a bunch of chopping or hours of cooking. The red lentils in it are a great source of fiber, folate and magnesium, and the curry powder (which is laden with the antioxidant-rich spice turmeric) adds heat and flavor. It’s a filling vegetarian soup that is sure to become a staple in your household.
Red Lentil and Curry Soup
Recipe by Sara Haas RDN, LDN
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cup red lentils (pick over to ensure no debris or rocks)
8 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sriracha, to taste
- Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until they are soft and slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, curry and cumin and sauté another 5 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon stick, lentils and chicken broth to the pot and stir. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
- Take the soup off of the heat. Remove half of the soup and allow to cool slightly* or until warm to the touch. Keep the other half warm on the stove. Place the cooled soup in a blender (or process with a hand mixer) and pulse until pureed. Stir pureed mixture back into pot of soup and turn the flame back to medium. Add the lemon juice and stir well until hot.
- To serve, place the soup in bowls and garnish with cilantro and sriracha.
*It is not advised to puree hot items in a blender due to the build of pressure generated from the steam. Be safe and allow your soup to cool slightly to prevent injuring yourself.
Note these easy substitution ideas:
- If the soup is too spicy, decrease the amount of curry powder and add a little more turmeric or purchase a less spicy curry powder.
- No vegetable broth on hand? No worries — water or chicken broth can also be used.
- Lemon juice adds flavor and depth without added salt. It can easily be replaced with red wine vinegar. Start with one tablespoon and taste.
- While fresh ginger is best in this recipe, it can be replaced with dry, powdered ginger — just use less. Substitute about ¼ tsp ground ginger for the 2 tablespoons fresh in this recipe.
- Sriracha is a spicy garlic and red chili sauce used frequently in Thai cuisine. It’s optional here, but it’s a great addition for anyone who loves spicy food.