I’m sneaking in one last cozy soup recipe for the season in the form of this spiced red lentil soup. This basic recipe can be made with very few ingredients and is extremely flexible. It’s not anything new, just my take on a pretty classic red lentil soup. What makes it special is a quick little preserved lemon and tomato salad stirred in at the end. The result is a a serious flavor bomb of a soup- you’ll be biting into tender juicy cherry tomato halves and tangy bits of preserved lemon with every spoonful of brothy spiced red lentils.
I regret not having anything green and herbaceous to top this with, and that nearly stopped me from shooting the recipe at all. My “all or nothing” tendency has not been serving me well during this period of isolation where trips to the store are extremely infrequent. But I’m trying to be more flexible and just work with what I have. I would encourage you to do the same especially if you think you might like to make this recipe but you don’t have one or more ingredient. Make it work! That’s often how delicious new meals are conceived, in my experience. Flexibility is a trait that I admire in others and am constantly trying to embody in my own life, and there’s never been a better time to practice going with the flow.
For this recipe, I used Moroccan Preserved Lemons from Casablanca Market. They were kind enough to send me a few of their products to try but I wasn’t paid to use them for this post. Their preserved lemons added so much intense flavor to this soup and have been a very welcome addition to my kitchen!
Tips for Making Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Preserved Lemons and Tomatoes:
- Use any kind of onion. Even red onion or shallot would be fine.
- Chop your ingredients in a food processor if you’re able- it will save a ton of time and the finely chopped veggies will become incredibly flavorful and melt away as the soup cooks.
- If you don’t have red lentils, you could use green lentils or cooked chickpeas in this soup.
- I would highly recommend sprinkling some chopped dill or cilantro over the finished soup if you do have it. Any herb or a spoonful of pesto would be delicious.
- You could also stir in a handful of chopped kale or spinach if you want a more veggie-heavy soup.
- A dollop of coconut yogurt or a drizzle of cashew cream would be delicious as well.
Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Preserved Lemons and Tomatoes
This simple spiced red lentil soup recipe can be made with very few ingredients. What makes it special is a quick little preserved lemon and tomato salad stirred in at the end. The result is a a serious flavor bomb of a soup- you’ll be biting into tender juicy cherry tomato halves and tangy bits of preserved lemon with every spoonful of brothy spiced red lentils.Scale
- 1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks of celery
2 medium carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup red lentils
5 cups water or stock
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 preserved lemons
1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Peel the outer skin off your onion and chop off both ends. Roughly chop it and add it to a food processor. Roughly chop 2 stalks of celery and 2 medium carrots and add them to the food processor as well. Pulse several times to start chopping the veggies, then run the food processor on low until the vegetables are finely chopped but be sure to stop before they start to turn into a paste.
- Heat a large soup pot over medium to medium high and add the olive oil. Scrape the contents of the food processor into the pot along with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper and stir well. Saute for 10 minutes. The vegetables will seem like a lot at first but they’ll shrink down as they cook.
- Meanwhile, smash, peel, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Gather your cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Rinse your red lentils.
- Add the garlic and spices to the soup pot and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Use a splash of water or stock to deglaze the pan if necessary, then add the rest of the liquid (I used a vegan chicken broth) and the red lentils to the pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
- While the soup cooks, halve a pint of cherry tomatoes and add them to a medium bowl. Chop 2 preserved lemons and try to remove most of the seeds. Add the chopped lemons to the halved tomatoes along with the red pepper flakes and stir well. Set aside.
- Remove the lid and give the soup a good stir. You might want to cook longer to let it thicken up more, or you might want to add a bit of hot water to make the soup a little more brothy.
- Stir most of the tomato salad (reserve about 1/2 for topping individual servings) into the soup and taste to see if it needs more salt, acid, or heat. Serve topped with the reserved tomatoes and extra black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.