6 Delicious Ways to Make Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is just cozy. And while lentils are sometimes perceived as bland, in our opinion, their delicate, earthy flavor simply makes them a perfect canvas for bold spices. Here’s a few suggestions on how to amp up your lentil soup game this fall.
Lentil Nutrition Basics
Although grouped with pulse and beans (they do grow in a pod), lentils are actually a unique, ancient food — and they come with some top notch benefits.
All varieties and colors of lentils are nutrient-dense, and lentil soups are often complete meals unto themselves. The calories and nutritional profile do vary a bit between types, but in general, a cup of cooked lentils ranges somewhere between 200 and 280 calories. In that same cup, you’ll get about 34% recommended dietary intake of iron, 137% of Vitamin A, 60 % of your necessary Vitamin C, 15% of your daily potassium, and a whopping 52% of the fiber you need for the day. And perhaps best of all: it packs 20% of the protein you need. With no cholesterol, and low levels of natural sodium and sugars, it’s a pantry staples that earns its place.
Make sure to pick over lentils before cooking — there can be teeny pebbles that you should remove. Give them a quick rinse to get any dirt or dust off them, and you’re ready to start cooking.
This simple lentil soup is a variation on the Italian classic minestrone, but without beans, potatoes, or grains. Lentils give the soup heft and plenty of protein. This is a gluten-free dish that’s also naturally dairy-free (although we wouldn’t judge you for serving with a side of bread and grating some parm over your bowl).
Curry powder and garam masala — a blend of ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin— transform tender red lentils into a perfectly spiced soup. Starting with a coconut milk base tempers some of the spiciness, and makes this soup rich and creamy, without adding any animal fat. The crunchy almonds on top add texture and give this dish a little protein boost.
Cooked red lentils turn the soup both creamy and lovely orange-yellow in this exceptionally bright, citrus-forward soup. A quick-cooking, vegan dish, this does well in the Instapot, too. Leftovers are incredible — especially when topped with a dollop of pesto.
Petite French green lentils, fresh mushrooms, and red quinoa combine to make this soup hearty and rich. Between the lentils and quinoa, this is a whole meal that will keep you full and energized. Amp up the umami even more by replacing some of the salt with a little miso paste or Vegemite, or go non-vegan with a few dashes of fish sauce.
This lentil soup takes less than an hour to prep and cook, lasts beautifully in the fridge for up to a week, and absolutely sings of toasty cardamom. Cardamom brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and adds a remarkable depth of flavor. The carrots add sweetness, and pack some Vitamin A. This option is also vegan, paleo-friendly, and gluten-free.
Rice and lentils are a classic pairing across the globe. This recipe is all about the spices — in fact, it’s a terrific way to learn to toast and grind spices, resulting in extra bold flavors. Another thing we love about it: this is a very flexible recipe that’s great for using up any leftover vegetables you have on hand.
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