When I went to write this post, however, I wondered... how many lentil soups have I blogged about? Is lentil soup a vegan cliche? I've got coconut red lentil soup, soup of greens and lentils, and spite soup... and that's not to mention the countless stewier dishes, which include a coconut-lentil stew, eggplant-lentil stew, Ethiopian lentil stew, a sambar, sausage-spiked lentil-apple stew, tamarind lentils, lentil chili with coconut milk, and red lentil coconut curry. And salads, including apple, lentil, and wild rice salad, spanish lentil and mushroom warm salad, marinated broccoli lentil salad, and warm savory lentil salad. Which is not to mention some other dishes in which lentils play a large role, such as kushari, spicy eggplant squash lentil stew (dhansak), and lentil loaf. Or dishes which use other legumes that could easily be lentils, like chickpea-eggplant stew with kale and harissa, dal with ginger and lime, ginger-sesame dal, and matar tofu paneer dal.
But you know what? There are many reasons for the ubiquity of lentil soups. Deliciousness, easiness, cheapness, nutritiousness, versatility, ultimate comfort-foodiness! And each of those recipes is different from the others (I think..).
As it turned out, I didn't have any red lentils, so I used yellow split peas, which I thought would more closely replicate the creaminess of red lentils than would brown lentils.
Lemony Legume Soup
(from "Red Lentil and Lemon Soup" from taste space)
3 TB olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
cayenne to taste
1 TB tomato paste
4 c vegetable broth
1 c red lentils or yellow split peas
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 TB chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Saute onion several minutes, then add garlic and continue cooking. Add cumin, salt, and cayenne, and continue cooking.
2. Add tomato paste, stock, split peas, and carrot. Simmer until peas are very soft (more than 30 minutes).
3. Allow to cool, then puree.
4. Reheat soup and add lemon juice and cilantro. Serves 4.