I have to say, I’ve never been much of a fan of pumpkin things (aside from the obligatory piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on Thanksgiving….), so when the entire world gets all “YAY PUMPKIN SEASON” about Fall, I wrinkle my nose and concentrate on MY ‘pumpkin season’ joys, such as:
- APPLE CINNAMON THINGS!
HOODIES AND BLANKETS AND HOT COCOA!
For about a week straight, Mark and I made all the ‘cozy’ meals we could think of including one of my recent favorites — red lentil soup. My grandma makes lentil soup around Easter time (which, though quite tasty, very much deserves the ‘brown sludge’ nickname that my uncle gave it, due to it’s grey/brown color and general lumpiness). Since trying the red lentil version, I found that I much prefer it. The spices are a refreshing break from your typical soups, and it’s less ‘sludge’ looking which might make it more kid-friendly ☺️
Fair warning: The recipe that I have isn’t perfect, so I improvised as I always do. One of these days I’ll follow something as written… I’m sharing this recipe from memory of what I did last week. My best advice in following it would be to taste test often (as any good chef should!). Make adjustments as you go along, and you should be fine!
Red Lentil Soup
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion (minced/finely chopped)
1 Minced Garlic Clove (can substitute jar or powdered versions)
1-2 cups finely chopped carrots (optional)
5-6 cups vegetable broth (more as needed)
2 cups red lentils
1 16oz can of tomato puree (can substitute crushed tomatoes or similar)
1/2 tsp ground cumin**
1/2 tsp coriander**
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
** For the spices: I found the 1/2 tsp to be miniscule. I used about 1 tbsp or more of each — but then again, I like flavorful food. Start with the 1/2 tsp and add more as needed throughout the cooking process. I believe I ended up with a balance of salt pepper and curry powder, with more coriander and cumin. Keep track of the garlic as well — add more if needed. Keep in mind that these spices will become slightly more pronounced on day 2 (leftovers!)
In a large soup pot, heat oil and saute onion, garlic and carrots on medium heat for 3-5 minutes (until onions are translucent). Add in lentils and tomatoes. Stir to incorporate. Add broth, cumin, coriander, curry and lemon juice. Stir again. Turn heat to high. Once soup boils, stir, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes until lentils are tender, and soup is thick. (Check every 10 minutes or so and add more spices or bit of broth if needed.)
Serve with bread, and enjoy a cozy dinner!