This recipe for Easy Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup is comforting, nourishing, and vegan. Made with red lentils, fresh thyme, vegetable broth, and a bunch of vegetables including onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and cauliflower, it’s a plant-based soup your family will slurp up happily.
Lentils are high in fiber (half a cup of split red lentils has 4 grams), protein, and complex carbohydrates. They are low in fat and calories, naturally gluten free, and they also contain important nutrients, including potassium, folate, iron, and manganese.
Over on Lentils.org, here’s how they describe lentil varieties, including the split red lentils I used in this super fast recipe: Lentils come in a variety of sizes ranging from extra-small to large. The most commonly found lentils on grocery store shelves are large green lentils and split red lentils. Split lentils have had their seed coat removed and the inner part of the lentil, known as the cotyledon, has been split in half. Split lentils cook much faster than whole lentils and are excellent for use in curries, as a thickener in soups, and for purees, whereas whole lentils tend to work better in salads or other applications where texture is desired. Lesser common varieties of lentils also include black Beluga lentils, and French green lentils.
Eating more nutrient-rich, fiber-filled plant foods is good for your health, but all those peels, stems, and skins can end up in the trash, unless you repurpose them … or add them to your compost bin. Since I was never good at composting (I was actually a big failure!), I joined a composting service called Black Earth Compost. Every Thursday, they pick up my organic food and kitchen waste. So instead of all that organic material rotting in a landfill and emitting green house gases, it’s being turned into rich, nourishing soil!
- Serves: 6
- Serving size: 1⅓ cups
- Calories: 171
- Fat: 4 g
- Saturated fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 26 g
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 376 mg
- Fiber: 12 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice, (1 cup)
- 3 to 4 large button mushrooms, roughly chopped, (1 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- One 32-ounce carton all-natural vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 medium carrot, shredded on the large holes of a box grater, (1 cup)
- 1½ to 2 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and mushroom and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 7 minutes. Adjust the heat accordingly.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, and celery seed and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the broth and water, increase the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Remove the cover, stir in the carrots, cauliflower, lentils, and thyme. Replace the cover, reduce the heat, and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and cauliflower are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the thyme stems. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve in individual bowls, and top with grated Parmesan cheese as desired.
Soup is so warming and comforting, and it’s just what I was craving on New Year’s Day. Let me know what you think of this recipe by posting a comment in the comments section below.