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LEMONY LENTIL SOUP

LEMONY LENTIL SOUP


This lemony lentil soup is hearty and satisfying, and loaded with plant based protein and fiber from the green lentils, vitamin C from the carrots and lemons, and I add an extra spoon of turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Because I always have dried lentils in the pantry and lemons on the tree, I had all the ingredients I needed already at home. I love that this recipe has turmeric in it, as it is a fabulous anti-inflammatory ingredient with many other health benefits. I talked about that here if you want to know more. Lemony lentil soup is an easy one-pot dinner, and I just love those types of dinners.
I love making a big pot of soup and freezing half or giving it away to friends and this recipe makes plenty. Quick tip: French green lentils work best here. Red lentils are wonderful, but break down into more of a mushy consistency than we are going for with this soup.
his Lemony Lentil Soup recipe is full of the best bright and zesty flavors, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s easy to make in the Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop.
The recipe itself is actually quite simple.  Red lentils are simmered until softened and combined with a simple mix of veggies, spices and lots of lemon juice to brighten things up.  But the restaurant version of the soup also featured two signature ingredients — corn and a pinch of saffron — which add the perfect hint of sweetness that make this soup perfectly-balanced and just lovely. ♡  Barclay and I turn to this soup often because it’s easy to make and full of feel-good ingredients.  But most of all, we just love it because it’s crazy-good and will forever remind us of home.
If you haven’t tried it yet, I can’t recommend this one enough!

LEMONY LENTIL SOUP INGREDIENTS:

INGREDIENTS

•    1 tablespoon olive oil
•    1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
•    2 medium carrots, diced
•    5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
•    6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
•    1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
•    2/3 cup whole-kernel corn
•    2 teaspoons ground cumin
•    1 teaspoon curry powder
•    (optional) pinch each of saffron and cayenne
•    zest and juice of 1 small lemon
•    fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

To make this lemony lentil soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

•    Veggies: A simple mix of white onion, carrots and garlic.
•    Veggie stock: Or you could also use chicken stock, if that’s what you have on hand.
•    Red lentils: Which I love for this soup because they break down and purée easily.
•    Corn: Just your basic frozen or canned whole-kernel corn.
•    Spices: A cozy mix of ground cumin, curry powder, cayenne and saffron (optional, but really delicious if you happen to have some on hand).
•    Fresh lemon: Whose zest and juice we will add to the soup.  I also recommend serving the soup with extra lemon wedges, if people would like to make their bowls even more lemony.
•    Salt and black pepper: For seasoning, as always.

HOW TO MAKE LENTIL SOUP:

I have included detailed instructions below for how to make this lentil soup in either an Instant Pot, Crock-Pot or on the stovetop.  But here is a quick overview!
1.    Sauté the veggies. I really recommend taking an extra few minutes to sauté the onion, carrots and garlic before adding them to the rest of the soup, to bring out the best of their flavors.  (This may require an extra sauté pan, if using a Crock-Pot.)  But if you are in a hurry, you can just add these ingredients in with Step 2 below.
2.    Simmer. Stir in the vegetable stock, lentils, corn, cumin, curry powder, cayenne and saffron (if using) until combined.  Cover and cook on the stovetop (or pressure cook or slow cook) until the lentils are tender.
3.    Blend (optional). Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  (If using a traditional blender, please see safety notes below.)
4.    Season. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, then season the soup with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper, as needed.
5.    Serve. Serve warm, garnished with an extra fresh lemon slice if desired.

POSSIBLE VARIATIONS:

Feel free to experiment and customize this soup however you might like!  For example, you could…
•    Serve the soup chunky. Just skip the puréeing step and enjoy the soup as-is!
•    Make it spicier. Add extra cayenne if you would like to give the soup a bit more heat.
•    Add fresh herbs. Fresh mint and/or cilantro would also be delicious served with this soup.
•    Add yogurt. Feel free to also serve the soup garnished with plain yogurt, if you would like to make it creamier.
•    Add greens. You could also stir some fresh baby spinach or chopped kale into the soup just before serving, to add some greens.

NOTES

Traditional blender instructions: If using a traditional blender to purée the soup, please exercise caution (as always) as hot liquids expand when blended.  I would recommend blending the soup in two batches, so as not to overflow your blender.  I always slightly tent open the cap on the blender lid (or gently place a kitchen towel over the cap opening) so that excess hot air can escape while the hot soup is being blended.  Once the soup is ready to go, return it to the stockpot and continue on with the recipe.

Sautéing the veggies: *I really recommend sautéing your onions, carrots, garlic if you can before cooking them in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.  (I always think the flavor is so much better.)  But that said, if you’re in a rush, you can just toss them in at the same time as your other ingredients. :)
Storage instructions: Any leftovers can be refridgerated in a food storage container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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