Lemon lentil soup is quite a popular recipe and once you’ve tasted it, it’s easy to understand why – you’d never expect such little pulses to be so flavourful!
I first tried a version of lemon lentil soup at my first round of macrobiotic cooking classes. My two classmates and I were blown away by the flavour and deliciousness, and it quickly became a favourite staple soup for all of us. Our teacher made hers with a generous amount of cumin, which I fell in love with. (I use even more in my recipe!)
There are so many different ways to make lemon lentil soup. My version involves cooking the spices into the onions until they’re browned and very flavourful, almost like you would when making a homemade curry. I find this creates a depth of flavour you wouldn’t otherwise get.
High in fiber, protein, iron, and a variety of essential minerals and nutrients, lentils are very healthy for us to eat regularly. In this recipe, each serving contains more than 7g of fiber and over 11g of protein! In addition, the turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory effects within the body, and also helps to give the soup that amazing yellow colour. Watch out – it will stain!
Makes 4-6 servings
– 1 large onion, finely minced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
– 2 tbsp sesame oil
– 2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 2 tsp cumin
– 2 tsp curry
– 2 tsp turmeric
– 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
– 1-2 bay leaves
– 2-3 strips of lemon rind
– juice of 1 lemon (fresh)
– 6 cups vegetable stock or water
– freshly chopped parsley or cilantro to garnish
Heat the oil in a large stainless steel Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them fry a bit until fragrant – just a minute or so.
Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic, salt, cumin, curry, and turmeric, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes – until the fragrance gets very deep and rich and the onions are browned.
While your onions and garlic brown with the spices, cut two very thin strips of lemon rind from a well-scrubbed lemon using a sharp knife – each strip should be about 2 or 3 inches long and about 1 inch wide so they are easy to pick out of the pot before serving.
When the spice mixture is ready, dd the lentils to the pot, stirring to combine with the onions, and raise the heat to high. Add the bay leaves, lemon rind, and water, and bring to a boil.
Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and lemon rind. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and let this cook another 5 minutes.
Garnish with herb of choice and serve hot.