Pantry Lentil Soup

Pantry Lentil Soup

Brrrrr!  We're in for our first really cold spell tomorrow, and I am not looking forward to it!  Luckily, chilly weather also means lots and lots of soup.  It's all I crave from now until March - hearty, nourishing, soul warming soup.  When the temperatures start to drop, we really have to go with the seasons and transition away from lighter salads and cooling foods to balance ourselves. 

This soup is a perfect example of nourishment in a bowl.  Plus it utilizes ingredients from your (hopefully) well stocked pantry, so you don't even have to make a special trip to the store.  I love it for a weeknight supper thanks to quick cooking red lentils.  Served with a hearty multigrain roll and a side of steamed kale, it's an ideal winter meal.  

Pantry Lentil Soup

Serves 3-4

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne or red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp. salt (to taste)

For serving:
lemon wedges
ghee (optional)

Heat a dutch oven or stock pot to medium.  Add olive oil, onion, and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Then, add garlic, tomato paste, and spices. Sauté another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  Add vegetable broth, lentils, bay leaf, and salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 30-40 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  Remove bay leaf.  At this point, I use my immersion blender to puree most of the soup.  This step is completely optional, however. I just like the smoother consistency. 

To serve, top each bowl with a squeeze of lemon and black pepper.