Healthy and refreshing
Cool mornings and warm afternoons can be a bit of a puzzle when it comes to figuring out what to eat. It's too warm for hearty winter fare yet, too cold for summer food. If you're the go-to cook at your house, you know the happy medium can be frustrating to achieve. Well, here's a wonderful little recipe to the rescue: this coral (or red) lentil soup will warm your bones and give you a taste of summer all in one healthy bowl-full. The secret ingredient? Lemon!
Ingredients and preparation - springtime coral lentil soup (vegetarian)
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped small
- 1/3 cup of finely chopped bell pepper (paprika) - trio (red, green, yellow)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1/2)
- salt and pepper
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 1 lemon, rinsed, zested and juiced
- Optional: 1-15oz can diced tomatoes - the soup will be a truer representation of the coral. Without the tomatoes the soup is more green with a coral hue. I love it either way!
- 4 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped, or freshly chopped spinach, or roughly chopped young celery leaves
- Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium-high
- Add the onions, carrots, paprikas (bell peppers) and celery and sauté until tender (about 5 - 7 minutes), stirring frequently
- While this is happening, add coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper - do not walk away, stir frequently so it doesn't stick
- Add the minced garlic cloves and stir for 2 - 3 minutes - at this point you'll have a fragrant mass
- Add lemon zest (I zest the entire circumference of the lemon), tin of diced tomatoes (if you choose to use them), and lentils - stir well
- Add the broth and red pepper flakes, and heat to a boil
- Reduce heat to a simmer for about 35 - 40 minutes until the lentils have mostly disintegrated (20 - 25 minutes if you want them to be visible). Stir occasionally to make sure the mass isn't sticking to the bottom.
- Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed
- At this point you can use a hand mixer (immersion blender) to puree the soup a little bit. I omit this step as the lentils give the soup a nice consistency and I like this soup to be more broth-like. It's up to you, it's your kitchen!
- Stir in the lemon juice and freshly chopped parsley, simmer a few minutes
- Garnish: with chopped cilantro, or some chopped spinach, or chopped baby celery leaves, and/or a swirl of olive oil
Serve with a little crumbled feta cheese and crusty baguette.
Pair with dry white wine or ice tea.
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