Red lentil soup is one of my favorite soups. This one is a little spicy and great with freshly baked crusty bread slathered with freshly made butter. It makes quite a bit of soup so you can have leftovers for lunch or freeze some for another time.
I usually have lentils on hand because they make a quick soup, are hearty, healthy, and filling. On Fridays, we don’t eat meat, especially during Lent. This is a perfect soup for Fridays.
I happened to have some small red potatoes in my pantry and they are perfect for this soup. Russets are okay if you don’t have the baby reds, but they tend to get mushy so you have to watch them carefully. If you are going to use russets, cook them separately, and add them at the end.
Fresh tomatoes are best in this. Grape tomatoes are small and you just have to cut them in half. They are also juicy and sweet. You could also use quartered and halved Roma tomatoes if grape tomatoes are not in season.
For the base of this soup, I use a vegetable base and water. I really like the one from Better than Bouillon because it has great flavor and I don’t have to worry about having enough broth or having too much broth and needing to use up leftovers. If you have vegetable broth, by all means, use it. You could also use chicken broth or chicken base if you don’t care about the soup not being meatless.
The one ingredient that takes this red lentil soup over the top is the red pepper paste. This is not the same thing as hot pepper sauce. Red pepper paste is made from roasted paprika peppers and red bell peppers. It’s not very spicy unless you get one that says spicy on it. It’s lovely in all kinds of different foods. Basically, anything you would put bell pepper in, you can put this instead. My favorite brand is Tukas.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 3 tablespoon vegetable base
- 1 quart water, boiling
- 1/2 pound red Lentils
- 1/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems
- 1/2 teaspoon Turkish Spice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 4 red potatoes, small
- 12 grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoon red pepper paste
- In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Saute until translucent then add the garlic and carrots. Saute and reduce heat. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the carrots have softened a bit, stirring occasionally.
- Mix the water and vegetable base thoroughly together. Add the lentils to the pot and add the liquid.
- Add the cilantro, spice, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
- Cut the potatoes into eighths and add to the pot. Continue to cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Add the tomatoes and let that cook for about 5 minutes.
- If the soup is very thick, you can add 2 cups of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of the vegetable base.
- Finally, add the red pepper paste and stir it in thoroughly.
- Transfer for a nice soup tureen and serve.