Hearty Lentil Soup for the Wintry Soul

My favorite winter evenings go something like these: come home early from work (hey it gets dark earlier!), pour yourself a hot cup of cocoa, put on something nice on TV and sit on the sofa cuddled in a shawl and do nothing! Now you might ask what happens to the dinner? and that's where this soup comes in.. this is my favorite one pot wonder meal. Wonder because its an absolutely delicious and healthy soup, cooks entirely with the pantry staples AND most of the cooking time is unattended. Now isn't that a win-win! I am usually game for any hot soup dinner during winter and this one being with lentils is even more heartier and feeling. I usually enjoy this soup with some make-do garlic bread which is just regular whole wheat bread toasted and then flavored with some olive oil and some fresh crushed garlic!

I used to buy the regular brown lentils (picture below) from supermarkets until a friend of mine introduced me to the french green lentils. French green lentils are smaller and darker than the regular brown lentils but I find them more packed in flavor and best of all they retail their shape after cooking much better than the regular brown lentils which tend to fall apart easily. I usually order the french green lentils online and they have now become a staple of my pantry. If you don't have these though brown lentils are just a great substitute. Lentils are a good source of fiber, protein and iron while still being a low-calorie food. Lentils are also supposedly good for your cholesterol numbers! Here are the three lentils that I regularly use in this soup: ones on the far left are french green lentils, far right are regular brown lentils and the red ones are the red split masoor dal.

Recipe is very forgiving and accommodating. Onions, leeks, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, kale.. practically any vegetable you have in the fridge will likely go well with this soup. Also the spice and seasoning amounts are just a guideline, feel free to dress up whichever way tastes best to you!

Recipe Source: Influenced by the Lentil Soup recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything book.
1Tbsp olive oil
3/4C French green lentils (or regular brown lentils)
1/4C split red masoor daal
6C water

1/2 onion
1 carrot
3 celery sticks
1 small potato
3 cloves of garlic
1inch piece of ginger
1 lime juice
chopped herb - cilantro or parsley

2 bay leaves
a pinch of dried thyme or italian seasoning (optional)
1tsp paprika - for color
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
pinch of turmeric powder
salt & pepper
dash of vinegar (optional)

  1. Chop onions, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots and potato into small pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil in a big soup pot. 
  3. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender.
  4. Add ginger and garlic and saute until aromatic.
  5. Add potatoes, carrots and celery and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Rinse the lentils well and add them to the soup pot alongwith 6C water.
  7. Add all the spices.
  8. Let the mixture barely come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer covered for 30-40minutes until the lentils are tender. Boiling is usually a very vigorous motion for a soup so I just let the soup simmer for an extended period of time.
  9. Once the lentils are tender and soup is ready; remove from heat. Add lime juice, vinegar and cilantro/parsley. Adjust the seasonings and serve!
One hot steaming bowl of this soup I am sending to Tongue Tickler's Monthly Mingle Soup Edition! This is my first entry ever to a food blog event, so I am kind of excited about it :)