It was raining all week. Which I didn’t mind because I could finally bake and cook. On Wednesday I made a huge pot of this red lentil vegetable soup that lasted 2 days.
Many of you might not know but I grew up with a single mom who had/has insomnia and anxiety issues. So, most days she was and still is not feeling well enough to do any normal daily activities that so many of us take for granted. On many of those days I heard her say “Let’s make soup”. Her all time favourite is Ukrainian borscht.
I think a huge pot of soup saved her a lot of time she didn’t have to worry what to feed me. And I also think she finds soup making process therapeutical.
So, I am becoming more and more like my mom. Not in an anxiety or sleeping habits way (thank goodness I am all alright) but rather in a kitchen.
A few weeks ago I came up with this red lentil soup recipe out of pure necessity. It was the end of summer and frankly kids were already bored and I was tired from them. I love how all mothers start summer break enthusiastically with a mile long list of memorable activities to do and in 1.5 months half of the things are checked off and the other half… Who cares?! Is it school time yet?! That is me!!!
One of those summer end days I needed a soup therapy. Making soup literally takes care of empty bellies, ingredients that have to be used up and my mental health. After that I just go for a walk and another day is over.
Staring at a row of Mason jars the only large enough supply to make soup I noticed was red lentils. And I love red lentils in soups because they cook fast and break down quite a bit making thick filling soups. Totally different story from green lentils. You just have to rinse them a few times with cold water.
Then I really pulled out everything that had to be used up from the fridge. And both times it was different items: last time I used leftover turkey quinoa meatballs sweet onion sauce, this time at the end I added leftover tomato sauce and even an oatmeal from breakfast. Why not? Nothing goes to waste and gets lost in a soup anyways haha.
Besides using all kinds of leftover carrots I also added organic miso paste. Have you ever bought one? If not you should. I bought on advice of one of my readers who mentioned she uses it to add a depth of flavour to soups and stews. That is so genius! Miso paste is not expensive and is a health food.
Miso paste is fermented soy bean paste with a meaty taste, umami. In case you don’t have one feel free to use veggie stock. No problem. I usually buy organic bouillon cubes GoBio!. But if you can, find miso paste in a refrigerated health section of many stores. It added so much flavour to this already easy red lentil vegetable soup.
I mixed miso with lots of sautéed onions, carrots and celery. I used a lot of before mentioned veggies (like a lot) hence the name “red lentil vegetable soup”.
Next I thought because I already have a good flavour base I do not need a ton of spices like many other Moroccan or Turkish red lentil soup recipes call for. I deiced to go only for 2 spices, cumin and ground coriander, in large amounts. Because at the end of the day it is a large pot of soup. I thought just to give it a good shot of a few spices. But a good shot. So you can really taste it.
I am sure everyone is familiar with ground cumin. Not so many people know ground coriander and I feel like you should. It is ground up cilantro’s dried seeds that have distinct sweet taste with a hint of spice and orange. I love using ground coriander in curries and Middle Eastern flavoured soups.
And at the end I decided to throw in a half cup of quinoa for texture and more protein. This healthy red lentil soup turned out unbelievable! Everyone in my house loved it. It has a thick texture with pieces of soft carrots and celery. Just a perfect amount of spice and heat for kids and adults. You can add more red pepper flakes, of course.
I am so happy Fall is here so I can bake muffins. We have a busy 3 days ahead of us with hockey tournament in a city 1 hour away. Oh man, it will be so much driving. I hate driving. But it is all worth it because our 10 year old made rep level hockey camp, he loves to play and we love watching him.
So, I thought I better get ready. Today I am making chicken with leftover salsa in a slow cooker. Cooking brown rice on a side. So, dinner is ready when we get home late. Yesterday I baked 2 batches of muffins: whole wheat chocolate muffins and banana zucchini muffins.
I hope you have a sunny Fall weekend and maybe make this vegetable red lentil soup so you can eat a healthy meal after enjoying that warm sunshine. Into lentils and soups? Try my slow cooker vegetarian lentil soup, slow cooker chicken lentil soup or spinach lentil soup.
Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 large celery stalks, diced
- 5 large carrots, diced
- 2 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
- 4 tbsp miso paste or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (I used GoBio)*
- 2 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander, ground
- 1 tsp himalayan pink salt**
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cups red lentils, dry & rinsed
- 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 12 cups boiling water
- Preheat dutch oven on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add celery and carrots; sauté for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meanwhile, boil water and rinse lentils.
- Reduce heat to low and add miso paste or bouillon cubes; stir to incorporate them into veggies.
- Add cumin, coriander, salt, red pepper flakes, red lentils, quinoa, boiling water and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
*You can use all or some vegetable broth in place of water. **Adjust salt to taste in case your bouillon cubes are less salty than mine.
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 2 cups:
Total Fat: 11.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 617.5 mg
Total Carbs: 50.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 16.1 g
Protein: 13.7 g
WW Points+: 8