Types of Lentils
Lentils are in the bean family, so they pack a lot of protein, and since they are dried like beans, they need to be cooked to make them soft again. The thickness of their skin and their shape affect the cooking time.
- Green and brown lentils are both thin-skinned and flat. They take the least amount of cooking time and easily break apart. This makes them perfect for soups that need thickening.
- Red lentils are a little hardier than their green cousins so they take a little longer to cook. If you want to have broth and lentils, these are the ones to use. Otherwise, just cook them a little longer and they will also fall apart for a nice thick Red Lentil soup.
- Then there are black beluga lentils. They have a distinctly, rich flavor all their own. They are round with thick skin. They take longer to cook, but are perfect for salads as they do not lose their shape. They also do well in chili.
The world of lentils is very interesting. Did you know that the oldest known carbonized remains of lentils from Greece’s Franchthi Cave are dated to 11,000 BC?
Lentil Soup with Cilantro for Lenten Soup Supper
We have Lenten Soup Supper at our church during Lent. One of my favorite restaurants in Glendale, Elena’s Greek and Armenian Restaurant, makes the best lentil soup. So, I went to my local Armenian store and looked for lentils and a recipe.
As mentioned above, there are several types of lentils. When I went to my local store, there were two kinds, red and yellow/brown available, so I asked the proprietor what she used, and asked her how she made her lentil soup. I was surprised when she said to add cilantro, but happy because I really like that herb.
So, without further ado, is the recipe. I served it the garlic bread and it was a hit.
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- 2 teaspoons vegetable base
- 3 cup water, boiling
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 Carrot, chopped
- 1 Red pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
- 8 ounces green lentils, 1/2 16 oz bag
- 2 Small potatoes, chopped
- 4 Small tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 1 teaspoon Ketchup
- ½ cup Sour cream, optional for serving
- 2 teaspoons vegetable base, 3 cup waterMake vegetable stock by mixing the vegetable base with boiling water. Set it aside.
- 1 tablespoon Olive oilHeat the olive oil in a dutch oven or other large pot.
- 1 Onion, 1 Carrot, 1 Red pepperAdd the onion, carrot, and red pepper.
- 2 tablespoons CilantroSaute until the onion is translucent, then add the cilantro.
- Pick through the lentils, being careful to remove any sticks or stones.
- 8 ounces green lentilsAdd the lentils to the pot and stir them.
- Add the vegetable stock you made earlier.
- 2 Small potatoesLet simmer the soup until the lentils are al dente about 30 minutes, then add the potatoes.
- 4 Small tomatoes, 1 teaspoon KetchupSimmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, then add the tomatoes and ketchup.
- Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are completely soft, about another 15 minutes.
- 1/2 cup Sour creamServe in nice bowls with a dollop of sour cream.