Melissa Clark Red Lentil Soup

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This Lentil Soup Cant Get Much Easier

Served plain and simple or garnished to the hilt, this velvety recipe may just remind you how deeply satisfying brown lentils can be.

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By Melissa Clark

Once I fell in love with a lentil soup, and it was all I could think about when pulses came to mind. Lemony and tangy, it was the antidote to the bleakest winter days, and the color of sunshine to match its bright disposition.

Eventually, though, the obsession waned, and I remembered how deeply satisfying brown lentils could be. They can also be easier to find than red lentils.

Earthy and hearty, brown lentils keep their shape when gently simmered, which makes for a richly textured soup. And when puréed, they turn soft, plush and wonderfully smooth.

In this recipe, Ive kept things minimal and straightforward. Youll only need to chop one onion, sautéing it until well browned at the edges to maximize its sweetness. Youll also have to grate some garlic, to be stirred in at the end for a pungent pop. But thats it for the prep work.

Because the soup itself is so simple, using a good, intensely flavored broth is important. But even a bouillon cube will do in a pinch. Just dont use water, which wont provide any flavor to stand up to the lentils.

You could serve the soup on its own, letting its inherent simplicity shine. But it works even better as the savory base for an array of garnishes just a little something sliced, crumbled or dolloped for color and verve.

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Red Lentil Soup With Lemon

This is a lentil soup that defies expectations of what lentil soup can be. Based on a Turkish lentil soup, mercimek corbasi, it is light, spicy and a bold red color : a revelatory dish that takes less than an hour to make. The cooking is painless. Sauté onion and garlic in oil, then stir in tomato paste, cumin and chile powder and cook a few minutes more to intensify flavor. Add broth, water, red lentils and diced carrot, and simmer for 30 minutes. Purée half the mixture and return it to the pot for a soup that strikes the balance between chunky and pleasingly smooth. A hit of lemon juice adds an up note that offsets the deep cumin and chile flavors.

Provided by Melissa Clark

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Steps:

Friends Have Tried For Years To Introduce Me To Their Favorite Lentil Soup Said Melissa Clark In The New York Times One That Would Keep Me Warm

Red Lentil Soup With Lemon Recipe

Friends have tried for years to introduce me to their favorite lentil soup, said Melissa Clark in The New York Times, one that would keep me warm all winter long. Some were sturdy and solid, others merely pedestrian, but they all lacked something. Then, suddenly, it happened. I fell head over heels. Could this be the one? This gorgeous, hearty soup didnt look or even taste like it contained lentils. Then I learned that these were red lentils, rather than their green or brown cousins. The original recipe also called for a few surprises: dried mint, bulgur, fresh tomatoes. With none of those ingredients in my larder, I substituted cilantro and tomato paste for the mint and tomatoes, and doubled the lentils instead of using bulgur. Would the soup live up to my expectations? This buoyant, lemony soup is even better than the original.

Recipe of the weekRed Lentil Soup With Lemon

3 tbsp olive oil, more for drizzling1 large onion, chopped1/4 tsp kosher salt, more to taste1/4 tsp ground black pepperPinch of ground chili powder or cayenne1 qt chicken or vegetable broth2 cups water1 large carrot, peeled and dicedJuice of Qw lemon, more to taste3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired. Serves 4.

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Red Lentil Soup With Spinach

This vegan soup is an easy and delicious winter meal.

Contributed byPreston Maring, MD

My wife made some great red lentil soup recently from an Amy Chaplin recipe. . Melissa Clark, a regular on the New York Times Cooking website, also offered a red lentil soup.

I combined the two. Just the best for a California winter evening meal. So easy to make. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did.

Servings: 6

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
  • Large pinch chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil to shimmering.
  • Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, chili, salt, pepper and cook a minute or two.
  • Add the broth, water, lentils, and carrots. Turn down heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Gently simmer partially covered about 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  • Use an immersion blender just enough to leave the soup chunky, or use a blender to puree about half of the soup, then add it back to the pot. If using a blender, remember to take the center piece out of the blender lid and cover with a folded kitchen towel to let the steam escape.
  • Stir in the spinach.
  • Lemony Carrot And Cauliflower Soup

    The beauty of a soup like this – other than its bone-warming properties – is that you don’t need a recipe. You can pretty much simmer together any combination of vegetables with a little water or broth, purée it, top it with good olive oil and salt, and end up with something good to eat. The addition of miso paste and crushed coriander to the broth, and fresh lemon and cilantro at the end, zips things up without negating the comfort factor.

    Provided by Melissa Clark

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
    1 large white onion, peeled and diced
    2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    5 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
    3 tablespoons white miso
    1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
    1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
    2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste
    Smoky chile powder, for serving
    Coarse sea salt, for serving
    Cilantro leaves, for serving

    Steps:

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    Creamy Macaroni And Cheese

    Time: 30 minutes

    Yield: 4 servings

    Why make macaroni and cheese in an electric pressure cooker when its so easy to do on the stove? Youre not necessarily going to save any time with this method, but cooking it all in one pot does make things more convenient. Plus, the cream cheese in the sauce makes this version particularly rich and creamy.

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

    2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    6 ounces cream cheese, softened

    1 garlic clove

    1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

    ¾ teaspoon kosher salt¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

    8 ounces grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese

    Directions

    Brush 1 tablespoon of the butter over the bottom of the pressure cooker.

    In a blender, blend the milk, cream, cream cheese, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, garlic, dry mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg.

    Add the cream cheese mixture and the macaroni to the pressure cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.

    Release the pressure manually. Stir the noodles, and if they look dry, stir in more milk to taste. If the noodles are too al dente to your liking, stir in the cheddar, then cover and let the pot sit for 5 to 10 minutes the noodles will cook a little more just sitting in the pot. Otherwise, stir in the cheese and serve immediately.

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    Soup Whats For Dinner Or Lunch

    This soup is delicious. Wes is not overly fond of soups unless it is clam chowder but this one had him asking for seconds. We love how the lentils absorb much of the liquid to create a thick substantial soup. In addition, the flavor kick from chile powder and cumin is delish. A squeeze of lemon brightens the soup and adds a slight yummy tang. You can tweak it by using ghee instead of olive oil and adding a pinch of garam masala. Dollop a bit of yogurt at the end. This gives it an Indian flair.

    For a tasty, filling dish that comes together in less than an hour try this soup. Invite me over for a bowl, please. Dont forget the naan to go along!

    Nigel Slater’s Spiced Red Lentil Soup

    You may already be in the process of cooking your lentil soup for New Year’s Day, but in case you haven’t decided on one yet, may I be so bold as to suggest this one? It comes from Nigel Slater’s wonderful book, The Christmas Chronicles, the only Christmas-themed book I’ve ever owned. Reading it in the quiet, stolen moments of December is swiftly becoming a tradition and it is as interesting as it is inspiring . It makes more sense to read it in November, so you can prepare for all the wonderful things you’ll do once Christmas rolls around, but this year I read it in the sleepy week between Christmas and New Year and it was also very nice to think about next year’s Christmas, when things will hopefully look quite different.

    Nigel says that the soup is styled, flavor-wise, after Indian rasam, which I’ve only ever seen as the thin, fiery broth that comes served with dosa or uttapam in South Indian restaurants. But this soup is thicker and more nourishing and stands alone very well on its own, no lacy thin fermented rice pancake alongside required. We made the quantity indicated in the book, but could have easily doubled it because it’s the kind of soup that will have everyone wanting seconds and leftovers of it will be more than welcome. So use the recipe below if you want only a starter portion for four people and double it if it’s your only dish.

    So see you again soon, I hope. And Happy New Year!

    Spiced Red Lentil Soup

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    A Lentil Soup To Make You Stop Taste And Savor

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    By Melissa Clark

      FOR years it seemed that everyone I knew had a special lentil soup recipe, one that sustained them and kept them warm all winter long. I had flirted with countless incarnations, and most tasted reasonably good. They were brawny, solid and predictable. I liked them in varying degrees, but never quite enough to take home to my soup pot. Until recently, when I fell head over heels. Could this be the one?

      It was so unexpected. At a friends dinner party this fall, white espresso cups filled with a steaming liquid were passed around as hors doeuvres. Deep in conversation, I took an absent-minded sip that instantly dazzled, yet mystified me. A gorgeous soup, it was warming and hearty, and possessed a velvety texture that recalled some kind of puréed legume. But it had a zesty, spicy flavor that was more ethereal and sunny than any earthbound, wintry bean.

      Its nothing, just a little lentil soup, said my hostess nonchalantly when I cornered her in the kitchen to grill her.

      Lentil? It didnt taste like lentils. And with its muted golden color, it didnt look like them either.

      Red lentils, Sweetie, with chili and a little lemon Ill e-mail you tomorrow with the recipe, she promised.

      The e-mail appeared. I wasnt coy I had already pulled out the soup pot.

      As determined as I was to make the soup, I was equally determined not to leave the house. It was cold and rainy, and there was only so much I was willing to sacrifice for a nascent crush.

      World Food Tour In Our Own Backyard

      Melissa Clark

      Luckily we live in the Bay Area where Korean and Southeast Asian stores, Middle Eastern bazaars, Mexican Pandarias, and Indian markets are a short drive away. Now that we are empty-nesters, Wes and I find ourselves tootling around on weekends stocking up on goodies from the various stores. An added bonus, many of the stores have precooked food, delis, and SAMPLES to try. We come home not just with bags of groceries but with crispy KFC , samosas, fried tofu flavored with bonito flakes, spicy garlic-chili eggplant, and fresh warm naan.

      I do love going to the markets but at the same time, its a little intimidating. I spend half my time standing in aisles Googling stuff or calling friends for advice. My friend Namrata is on speed dial whenever I go to the Indian Market. Our calls usually goes like this:

      Me: Uh, Namrata Im at the store, HELP. I want to make dal and I am looking at a rainbow spectrum of lentils, black, red, yellow, green..which am I suppose to get?

      Namrata: Well, what kind of Dal are you making?

      Me: Hmm, let me look , it says red lentil dal.

      Namrata: Buy the masoor dal, the yellow ones are moong dal, the black ones are for special occasions.Namrata begins to sound like the grown-upsin a Peanuts cartoon. I scan the shelves overwhelmed, I think I have dal overload.

      Me: Hmm, this package says masoor or split red lentils, is that right?

      Namrata: yes thats the one.

      Me: In my defense, the word split threw me off. I come from The world according to Rice.

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      How To Cook Lentil Soup In The Instant Pot

      This easy lentil soup does require a little chopping on the front end, but once you have the ingredients prepped, it is completely hands off, especially if you make it in an Instant Pot.

      I first discovered the beauty of Instant Pot lentils back when I made this Instant Pot Lentil Curry.

      Although the total amount of time to cook lentils in an Instant Pot is pretty comparable to the time youd need on the stove, I find that the texture of the Instant Pot lentils is superior.

      I love that I never need to check or stir the lentils the entire time the soup cooks.

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