Soup Week: Coconut Lentil Soup
You know what you can count on, when you live in Ontario, like we do? Winter. Every year. Right after fall. And yet… Lordy, the crying and belly-aching over the snow and the cold. You would think that no one has ever seen snow before. And yes, I am one of the loudest criers (you can take the girl out of the West Coast but you can’t take the expectation of balmy temps out of the girl) of them all. Listen, we’ve got many weeks to go. How many more weeks when the groundhog sees or doesn’t see his shadow? Many. But that doesn’t mean we have to take it lying down in a snow drift. We can fight the power with soup!
This soup is my new obsession and the best defence I can come up with for winter ennui. Not only is it easy peasy to make – a bit of sauteeing, get everything in your pot and you’re done – but the smell is so heavenly and exotic, you might just trick yourself that it’s not winter inside your house even if it’s still winter outside. And the taste is insane. For a really simple soup it’s got great, complex flavours – sweet, tart and just a bit spicy. Even the soup doubters that make up my family had to agree: it’s the bomb. I have a giant bag of red lentils in my cupboard right now but I’m going to use it up before spring. Soup Power!
photos by Maya Visnyei
Coconut Lentil Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup tomato paste
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 can coconut milk
2 cups red lentils
1 big handful of fresh spinach, sliced into ribbons
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a big pot or Dutch oven to about medium. Add your onions and carrots and sautee them until they just begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Toss in your garlic, ginger and spices. Give everything a good stir and allow it to cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir again.
Pour in the stock, water, coconut milk and lentils. Give everything a good stir and let it simmer – not boil – for about 25 minutes. Give it a taste to see that the lentils are nice and tender.
Throw in the spinach and stir it around until it just wilts. Add the lemon juice and taste before adjusting for salt and pepper. And you’re done! It’s a big pot of soup but that’s okay since it will taste even better the next day.
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