Meatless/vegan Monday: Spiced lentil soup

It’s been a few weeks since a meatless Monday. I know, I know. How am I ever going to break through into blogging popularity, monetize, and sail off into the land of beautiful people and passive income? The answer is, I’d much rather make everyone wait around for content that I can feel good about, instead of tons of micro-reblogged posts about glitter and 5-minute crafts. Yada yada, let’s get to the lentils!

I’ve been working out a lot lately, for various reasons, including having fewer clients/less workload lately than I have in the past. It’s the first time since going veggie that I have lots of time to really burn calories and build muscle, and I’ve been feeling the lack of animal proteins. So I’ve been turning a lot toward beans. And spinach. And tofu. But mostly beans.

This lentil soup isn’t super flashy, but it’s easy, satisfying, tasty, packs a whopping 18 grams of protein per cup and is fantastic for a cold and gloomy day. Add marbled rye bread for dipping, and it transcends the workhorse soup genre, reaching something magical. Bonus: it’s vegan! I didn’t notice until I was typing up the recipe.

I made a fairly small batch because Compatriot and I are bad about finishing off leftovers after the next day. The recipe as written made two huge dinners, two satisfying lunches, and one medium breakfast, but you could very easily double it to feed a family of four for more than a day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb red lentils (or green. Or any color, really. Call my palate unrefined, but I can’t really tell the difference.)
  • Some kind of oil
  • 4 cups water or broth of choice
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, chopped, minced or pressed (I like chunks of garlic floating in my soup, so I chop. Your mileage may vary)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard seed/tumeric (the recipe I loosely referenced called for tumeric, but mustard was what I had, and it’s delicious)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • Sriracha to taste (sounds weird, but it seriously added to this soup. It’s a lazy girl’s dream cheat for awesome food!)

Directions:

1. Heat a large soup pot over low-medium heat. You can use high if using an oil with a high smoke point, but I chose to use olive oil. Coat the bottom of the pot with your oil of choice, and toss in the onions for about 2 minutes, or until starting to turn translucent. Add the garlic and sautee for another minute, until fragrant but not browned. Or browned, if that’s how you like your garlic to taste.

2. Add 4 cups water or broth to the pot, then add the lentils and spices, except the sriracha. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. (Check occasionally to make sure the lentils have enough water/broth.) Use this time to make a side salad.

3. Just before the soup is done, toast a couple of slices of marble rye. Check the soup (which should be very thick at this point) for spice level. Add a squirt or two of sriracha and stir; check again, and adjust.

4. Serve with side salad and marble rye for dipping. Crack fresh pepper over the top if you want; it’s pretty good.

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