Red Lentil Soup

Serves 6

This is one of those deliciously nutritious and EASY dinners.  Red lentils are one of my favorite legumes and they’re one of the quickest to cook.  From start to finish, this meal will be done in 20-30mins!  A gourmet meal in 20-30mins?  Don’t believe me?  Give it a go and let me know how it goes!

It may be fairly obvious by now that I am a cumin lover.  In fact, I’d say it’s pretty hard for me to cook a pot of beans without at least a pinch of cumin.  It is a popular spice in India (think curries), in the Middle East (hello falafels, hummus), and of course, Latin America. The health benefits may explain why this seed spans so many diverse cuisines.

Cumin, a member of the carrot family, is an excellent source of iron (great for growing kids and pregnant and lactating moms!).  It boosts immune system health and is a great digestive aid.  It improves liver function and helps in the assimilation of nutrients.  Most notably, cumin has anti-carcinogenic properties.  Studies have shown that cumin seeds can potentially slow down the growth of stomach and cervical tumors.

Pretty good reasons to cook with cumin!

You’ll need:

1C red lentils, rinsed
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced (I only had a Spanish onion this time)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T (heaping) ground cumin
1 T honey
1 28oz can of whole tomatoes, diced
6C water or veg stock
2-3 bay leaves
Sea salt to taste
Cilantro, optional, for garnish
Creme fraiche, optional, for garnish (I’m off dairy while I’m nursing so no Creme fraiche in my fridge these days.)

To make:
1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions and a pinch of salt.  Cook for about 5 minutes until fragrant and translucent and then add garlic and cook for 3 more minutes.
2. Add lentils, cumin and honey and stir thoroughly.  Add tomatoes with juices and stir to marry the flavors.
3. Finally, add the water (or stock) and the bay leaves.  Cook over medium heat, partially covered for 20mins until lentils are soft.
4. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and some chopped cilantro.  Some country bread would go very nice with this dish, too.
5. Enjoy!

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