red lentil soup recipe
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This red lentil soup recipe is loaded with fiber, iron, and protein. It’s a delicious plant-based alternative to red meat that is also dairy-free.

red lentil soup with kale
Photo credit: cravenutritionalcooking.com

The best thing about this recipe is that you can get a creamy consistency without using dairy cream or yogurt. Read on to find out where this soup gets its creaminess.

I developed this soup recipe based on my green pea version. Having run out of split peas one day, I replaced it with a portion of red lentils that I use for Dahl sauce. Now, this soup is my go-to recipe for a dose of dietary fiber and iron. Also, it’s quick and simple to prepare even though it’s a recipe cooked from scratch.

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

If you suffer from an iron deficiency, you’ll know that lentils are an excellent source of this essential macronutrient. It’s also an excellent source of plant-based protein.

Before you start cooking, I will discuss the benefits and functions of the various macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals contained in some of its nutritious ingredients.

I will point out the healing benefits of this soup and how you can benefit from including it in your diet.

The hero of this recipe is Red Lentils given their highly beneficial nutrients essential for our daily dietary requirements. Red lentils also aid in other physiological processes in the body and provide many healing benefits.

This protein-rich soup is a plant-based equivalent of a portion of red meat – making it a heart-healthier option.

Red lentil soup is tasty and warm for the fall and winter months with a dash of hot cayenne pepper. Perfect for work lunches and elegant enough for dinner guests.

This recipe will become a versatile and easy-to-make soup base to which you can add many other whole foods and superfoods.

History of Red lentils

red lentils soup ingredient soaking for enzyme breakdown
Photo credit: Pexels-Mart-Production

Lentil soup is a staple dish in Indian kitchens and for many good reasons. It’s incredibly healthy, easy to make, and budget-friendly.

But many people shy away from making it at home because they are not sure how to cook it the best way and efficiently.

Well, worry no more because this versatile red lentil soup will make it easy for you to interpret this ingredient in many other recipes.

Red lentils come in varieties such as Masoor dal (brown lentils), Punja dal (pigeon peas), and Methi dal (fenugreek). If you are an allergy sufferer like me, you can swap these out for Mung Dal. Made from split Mung Beans, it is alkaline and salicylate-free.

Organic Mung Dal

Made from Mung Beans that are alkaline and salicylate-free. They contain Vitamin K, Magnesium, Vitamin B9 (Folate), Potassium and Vitamin C. And they’re easy to sprout – lots of fun for kids! It’s a nutrition powerhouse that’s easy on the gut and on eczema.

Most recipes call for a combination of these lentils but this soup uses the most common type, Masoor Dal. These lentils are small but very fibrous and need soaking before being cooked.

Their distinct color comes from the fact that they are not treated with any colorant so you may notice their reddish hue as you cook them. They also have a smoky aroma that releases as they cook.

There are different ways to prepare red lentil soup depending on the recipe you follow but there is no better way than creating it from scratch using this simple guide.

Grain or legume?

Red lentils are a type of legume. They have a nutty flavor, making them ideal for soups and stews.

They also have plenty of health benefits. Red lentils are rich in vitamins, minerals, and plant-based protein.

These are some reasons why they are a great addition to any diet. Did you know that red lentil soup is a popular meal option in many eating styles?

Here is everything you need to know about this delicious recipe.

Efficient cooking

Red lentils are generally easy to prep and cook quickly.

They have a neutral flavor that pairs well with spices and other ingredients. They are also one of the most affordable lentils available.

The benefits of soaking lentils

Legumes contain oligosaccharides that cause bloating and gas. These complex sugars are broken down during the soaking process, helping to reduce that problem.

As mentioned, this soup is dairy-free, so it contains no cream or yoghurt. What gives this soup its creamy texture is the blending off all its ingredients together in particular the lentils. Red lentils are a great base for making a basic pancake batter that you can pan-fry into a vegan wrap for fillings.

Soaking also reduces cooking time, which is why I love this recipe.

Storage tips for lentils

For cooked lentils, refrigerate the lentils in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags for safety and quality. Properly stored, cooked lentils will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Dried lentils will generally stay at their best quality for about 2 to 3 years at room temperature if stored in an airtight container.

Glass Jars for you lentils

I recommend glass for its long-lasting and hygienic qualities. I love these because you can even use them on the stove top. Plus, they’re free from lead, are non-toxic and the seal is stable as it has a silicon ring on the lid. All my storage containers have this silicon ring, it’s great for meal prepping. Check out the video, it’s worth adding to your collection for nutritional cooking.

Nutritional benefits of the ingredients

Macronutrients

Protein
  • We need Protein nutrients to help break down the food we digest.They also help build muscle mass and boost our metabolism.
  • Protein also maintains and repairs tissue so the body can heal itself from injury making it beneficial for physical activity and why athletes love it.

Sources: Red lentils

Fibre
  • Fiber helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
  • Fiber helps to regulate the digestive process helping to prevent constipation and other digestive issues.

Sources: Red lentils 

Vitamins

carrots, red lentils, celery, white onion ingredients in soup
Photo credit: cravenutritionalcooking.com
Vitamin A
  • Your body converts beta-carotene to Vitamin A when required, which helps regulate metabolism and ultimately burns off excess fat.

Sources: Carrots

B Vitamins
  • They play an important part in metabolism and healthy brain function.
  • The B group consists of B1 (Thiamin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B8 (Biotin), B9 (Folic Acid / Folate), and B12.

Sources: Red lentils, Celery (Folate)

Vitamin K
  • It’s essential for blood clotting and it’s also important for bone and heart health.
  • Vitamin K1 is important for healthy blood clotting and can help reduce the risk of bleeding in the event of injury.
  • It is also important for bone health and can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Sources: Carrots

Minerals

Iron
  • This mineral is crucial in transporting oxygen to our tissues and cells.
  • A deficiency can lead to fatigue and anemia, so it is an essential nutrient for all humans at any age.

Sources: Red lentils

Potassium
  • It lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease as it helps blood vessels to contract.

Sources: Red lentils

Zinc
  • Zinc is known as a trace mineral element and is present in cells throughout the body.
  • It supports the immune system and is well-known as a remedy for colds.
  • It is also excellent for skin health as it aids in producing oil in the skin and maintaining moisture.

Sources: Red lentils

Manganese
  • Manganese is needed for bone health and, in conjunction with other minerals, assists in building bone density1.

Sources: Cloves

The health benefits of each ingredient

Red Lentils

Lentils, in general, are known to help lower blood pressure and reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose. It has antioxidant benefits because of the polyphenols present in them, such as flavonoids, among others.

They are a rich source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron. Some of their benefits are listed above. In a nutshell, red lentils are a highly nutritious food as a standalone dish and a nutrient-dense ingredient in vegan recipes.

Its best quality is being an inexpensive red meat substitute, no wonder vegans love it.

Organic Red Lentils

This versatile ground beetroot powder is organic and loaded with powerful nutritional constituents as discussed in this blog post. I sprinkle it over rolled gluten-free breakfast oats, but you can absolutely add it to your smoothies and juices as a superfood!

Carrots

Besides being part of the Mirepoix trio, carrots are a carotenoid-rich food containing an antioxidant effect that reduces inflammation. Read this article dedicated entirely to the health benefits of carrots as a standalone food and a recipe ingredient.

Celery

celery ingredient in red lentil soup
Photo credit: cravenutritionalcooking.com

This fragrant and versatile fresh ingredient is high in potassium and is beneficial for suppressing inflammation. Its leaves add an extra layer of flavor and work well as a herb replacement.

celery leaves ingredient in red lentil soup
Photo credit: cravenutritionalcooking.com

If you wondered what gives Celery its famous smell, it’s a chemical called Coumarins. The compound can cause frequent urination, something to note if you eat this regularly and wondering why you’re peeing a lot!

White Onion

Onions add incredible flavor and no savory dish is complete without them.

They are part of the allium family with garlic, leeks, and chives and are high in antioxidants. Onions are also low in calories and are a source of Vitamin C.

Do onions make you cry while chopping or slicing them? I have such a problem that I had no choice but to invest in a pair of goggles. Well worth it and much safer than attempting to wipe away tears while wielding a chef’s knife. Remember, your safety first!

Ginger

Ginger is an antimicrobial food that can be used to treat infections.

It contains a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and red swelling, an effect of psoriasis and eczema.

It also contains Gingerol, a potent anti-inflammatory that has an antioxidant effect2. Antioxidants reduce the effects of free radical damage ie. the oxidative stress on cells.

Food prepping tip: If you struggle with peeling ginger, a great hack is to use the back of a teaspoon and effortlessly scrape off the skin. Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little fancier, there are plenty of smart kitchen gadgets to build out your toolkit.

Cayenne

Cayenne peppers are good for digestion and have anti-inflammatory effects. Adding this particular flavor allows you to reduce the salt content in this recipe because there is less need for it.

Turmeric

This potent anti-inflammatory – Curcumin being its powerful active ingredient – has been getting a lot of coverage on social media lately, particularly in those lovely golden yellow healing teas and milk recipes. I add it to many liquids and stews myself. If you are not allergic to eggs, try adding it to an egg-white scramble to add back that beautiful golden yolk color.

Cloves

Cloves are an antibacterial and a rich source of Manganese. I’ve included it mainly as a seasoning in this red lentil soup. It has a warm, bitter and rich flavor that adds enough depth to offset the freshness of the celery, the savory onion, and the umami flavor of the tomato.

Rock Salt

This salt is included in this recipe because it is less processed and has less sodium than regular iodized table salt. Rock salt is low in iodine, notable if you have a thyroid condition. Salt is crucial for optimal health and physical survival, so don’t shy away from it. The recommended daily intake is no more than 2,300mg per day which is 5g (1 teaspoon)3.

Ghee

Classified as a Good fat, Ghee is also known as clarified butter. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.

It also contains Vitamin E giving Ghee its potent antioxidant qualities. Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble nutrient that everyone should include in their daily skincare regimen because the antioxidant constituents protect skin cells from free radical damage. 

Tomato paste

This paste is processed using concentrated tomatoes cooked twice to reduce them to their paste-like consistency to get all the liquid out. Because of its lengthy cooking process, it becomes sweeter due to all the sugars naturally present in the tomatoes.

Even though nutritional cooking is cooking from scratch, I use it from time to time out of the tube, making it a processed ingredient. I do this to save time if I’m under pressure.

But, if you prefer unprocessed, you can make your own by cooking down tomato puree and reducing it to a paste. It’s easy to do when you have time and of course, it’s another meal prep item you can store in the fridge for a few days.

You can use tomato paste in many different kinds of healthy recipes. It adds a sweet and umami flavor to this soup. It balances out the heat of the cayenne and the mild, earthy flavor of the lentils.

What is the best way to make red lentil soup?

The best way is to compliment its flavor with a basic mirepoix as you would with any soup. Mirepoix is a French word referring to a basic flavor base for soups, stews and stocks. The ingredients are always white onion, carrot, and celery.

In my experience, the most efficient way to cook this soup is to place all the prepped veggies into a pot (except the toppings) and cook it in one go, making it a great one-pot meal.

Before serving, finish it by adding a topping/s as recommended in the recipe.

Not sure where to start? Begin here by checking out the grocery list:

Shopping List for Red Lentil Soup

Conclusion

Would you like to see a blog post on more Lentils nutrition or another Lentils recipe?

Let me know in the comments section, I value all feedback.

Download my FREE Mise-en-Place or Recipe Workflow (as it’s also called). This is a helpful tool for scaling a recipe.

While in culinary school, it was the first thing I learned to do and the most valuable paper tool I had in the kitchen. It’s much easier to pre-calculate portions ahead, instead of trying to do it during cooking.

Once you have the hang of it, it helps in scaling your recipes during meal planning because you can work out the exact amount of each ingredient, and see how you’re using it and how you are prepping it, etc. 

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Recipe by AmandaCourse: Dinner, LunchCuisine: WesternDifficulty: Easy, Beginner, Novice
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Calories

142

kcal

Directions

  • Soak red lentils overnight or 8 hours – to break down enzymes and improve mineral absorption.
  • Peel and roughly chop all ingredients because you will be adding this to the blender to process into a smooth liquid.
  • Rinse lentils thoroughly until the water runs clean
  • Place all ingredients into a medium size pot that can accommodate the amount of water. Stir to combine and coat the vegetables with the spices.
  • On a high heat, sauté the ingredients for 5 min or until the ghee has coated all the vegetables and the spices and red lentils have started to release their flavours.
  • After 5 minutes or when you see the spices and lentils start to stick (not burn) to the bottom of the pan, add all the water immediately. All the vegetables should be immersed in the water. Keep it on this high heat. Put the lid on.
  • Once you add the water, it might look like you’ve lost the heat. Just wait for the liquid to start bubbling up again. Once it bubbles and starts to boil again, immediately set your timer for 35min.
  • Stir periodically and scrape down the sides of the pot. This is flavour and nutrients that you should keep. Also, it’s a good way to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
  • Once 35 minutes have lapsed, remove from the heat and let it cool down completely. Lift the lid slightly to let the steam escape and to prevent condensation droplets from dripping into the cooked soup during cooling.
  • Once cool, place all of the soup liquid into a liquidiser (blender) and blend until smooth or to your desired consistency. You can also use an immersion blender straight into the soup if you have one. The idea is to end up with a lovely, creamy and smooth consistency.

Notes

  • Topping ideas:
  • 1. Add a few kale leaves for extra fibre, vitamin K, vitamin C and iron. It’s not necessary to cook the Kale. Wash, rinse, prep as normal. Add to the soup once it’s done cooking and leave for 5 min or until wilted. Or you can steam separately and add to the soup just before serving.
  • 2. Toasted Sunflower seeds. These add a nutty, smoky and crunchy dimension to the soup. Perfect for serving during fall/winter. Lightly toast the seeds in a dry skillet or pan until just lightly browned. You can grind a bit of rock salt over if you like. Once toasted, sprinkle over the soup and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Nutrition Facts

3 servings per container


Calories142

  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 5g 8%
    • Saturated Fat 3.2g 16%
  • Cholesterol 10mg 4%
  • Sodium 208mg 9%
  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Potassium 375mg 11%
  • Total Carbohydrate 15.9g 6%
    • Dietary Fiber 7.1g 29%
    • Sugars 2.4g
  • Protein 4.9g 10%
  • Calcium 4%
  • Iron 11%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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