I’m on the record as stating that soup is not a meal, in and of itself, with very few exceptions.
This is one of them. (My mom’s baked potato soup is basically the only other.)
I also don’t like lentils usually. That is, until I went to Istanbul last year and we ate in a Kurdish family’s house and were served corba as an appetizer. Corba is a hearty red lentil soup, super flavorful and comforting. When I returned to the States, I started pinning recipes right away so I could try it myself. I learned that red lentils are very different than the dark ones I’d had before, and didn’t have as many texture issues for me.
I’ve made this recipe a few times, trying to get the texture and flavors just right. For some weird reason I have issues with it separating a bit (so becoming a little watery), but since I like it better with crushed up crackers in it anyway, I decided to just let that go. One time I even tore up half a bagel into the soup, and the texture was awesome!
One of the great things about this soup is that it comes together really quickly—like half an hour from start to finish. So you can get home from work, get it simmering, and go about your business until it’s time to blend everything up and serve. Efficiency FTW!
Rinse your lentils, drain, and set aside. Fair warning, this will probably turn your lentils into a solid block that you’ll have to break up later 🙂
In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the olive oil and the onion with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, then add the carrots and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir it around for around a minute. Now add the cumin, paprika, mint, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper as quickly as you can and stir for 10 seconds to bloom the spices. Congratulate yourself on how amazing your house now smells, because you are basically a spice wizard now.
Immediately add the lentils, water, broth, and salt. Bring the soup to a (gentle) boil.
After it has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot halfway, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils have fallen apart and the carrots are completely cooked. Go for a walk. Read a book. You do you.
After the soup has cooked and the lentils are tender, blend the soup either in a blender or simply use a hand blender to reach the consistency you desire (this is easier because I am lazy). Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary (This is important! Mine almost always needs more salt).
Serve with crushed-up crackers, torn up bread, or something else to add some extra thickness. You could also use a traditional thickener (like cornstarch or flour), but I prefer to add crackers for some texture and saltiness. This makes great leftovers (and work lunches), and stays good in the refrigerator for about a week.
Other fast vegetarian weeknight dinners you’ll love:
- One-Pot Yellow Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry
- Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach, & Feta
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196
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