We are attracted to food as much by color as by flavor.To my eye, red lentils have always looked so much more appealing than the typical, muddy-colored lentils I usually cook up with a big old ham hock. Their color lies something between creamy orange sickle and apricot.
Plus, they have the added benefit of cooking up pretty quickly.
The pretty soup took only 25 minutes to make … from beginning to end, yet it has a surprising medley of flavors going for it. It’s has a bit of heat, a touch of tang, and a few surprises. Plus, it is super quick and easy to prepare.
Here’s how I did it.
RED LENTIL SOUP WITH MINT & BASIL
Into a deep sauce pan or soup pot, dribble 2 tablespoons of good olive oil.
To this, add:
- 2 claws garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 small potato, cubed
Sauté the above mixture about two minutes, then add:
- 1 cup water (adding more as needed as the lentils cook)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon, photo below (or 1 chicken stock cube)
- 2 tbsp real butter or good butter substitute. I use Earth Balance in just about everything.
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1 shake of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp rice vinegar or white vinegar (or lemon juice). Do not overdo the acid.
Allow this concoction to cook until the lentils are nearly soft, about 10- 15 minutes.
- 10 leaves freshly chopped basil leaves
- 10 leaves freshly chopped mint leaves
Simmer until the lentils are soft, the carrots and potatoes soft to bite, but not mushy.
TIPS: If you’re a meat-eater and want to make this into a heartier meal , add 8 ounces of breakfast sausage a few minutes after adding the lentils. Add by breaking the raw sausage up with your fingers or a wooden spatula in order to make small, bite sized bits. Serve with warm bread or croutons.