The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012

It’s no secret around here that I like to cook big when I can.  A big pot of beans, a big pot of soup, a big pot of chili.  Doubling a recipe saves time and isn’t much more work than making a single recipe.  Usually when I double up, I’m feeding a crowd or making one meal for tonight’s dinner and another to freeze for another time.  But then there are occasions when I make a huge pot of something and just eat it twice a day for a week.  This soup is one of those somethings.  It’s that good.

You might think that March 2 is a little early to be declaring anything the “Best of 2012.”  But I’m pretty sure.  I’ve had a go-to red lentil soup recipe for years (it was The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2008 or thereabouts, and has held the title since).  This soup has replaced it with a vengeance.

I knew it would be good, because it was recommended to me by the same friend who gave me that amazing chilaquiles recipe.  She is a great cook and discerning recipe collector, and when she tells me to try something I always do.  This recipe is slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks, which is another good sign, because I always like Heidi Swanson’s flavorful and sometimes quirky cooking.  In this case her stroke of genius is to add raisins to the soup, which plump up into barely-there bursting bits of sweetness mingled with the curry and coconut flavors.  In case you are feeling cautious to begin with, I will give you the regular-size recipe and you can use your discretion as to doubling it.  (You definitely will next time.)

The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012: Bring 1 c. red lentils and 1 c. yellow split peas (both picked over and well-rinsed) to a boil in 7 c. water.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add a chopped carrot and 2 tsp. finely minced ginger (I like to grate it with my Microplane), and simmer until split peas are entirely soft, 30-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a gob of coconut oil in a separate pan and saute a bunch of chopped green onions (reserve a handful for garnish) with 2 more Tbsp. minced ginger and 1/3 c. golden raisins.  After two minutes, add 2 Tbsp. Indian curry powder and saute for another minute, stirring constantly, then add 1/3 c. tomato paste and stir for one minute more.  When the lentils and peas are soft, add the tomato-spice mixture to the soup with a can of coconut milk and 2 tsp. salt.  Simmer uncovered for a bit to blend the flavors and thicken the soup; you can adjust the consistency with more water or more cooking.  Serve over cooked brown rice, garnished with those reserved chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, and a dollop of Greek yogurtIf you try this and know of a better red lentil soup recipe, please let me know in the comments.  I never get tired of lentil soup.


8 thoughts on “The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012

  1. musingmar

    This sounds really good and looks hearty. I’ve never used coconut oil or put raisins in a soup before, so I think it’s time to try something new!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      It does seem a little novel but it ends up being just a great, comforting soup. And of course you can use butter or another oil in place of the coconut oil if you only want to try one new thing at a time. :)

  2. Shira

    Look wonderful! I am a huge fan of red lentils but the rest of my family is not… much as I too love to cook big, I have been forced to cook only what I will eat! Still worth it though and red lentils are cheap, delicious, and always look wonderful!


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