Thursday, October 27, 2016

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup with Fried Scallions

This soup reheats well, so I make a large batch and store whatever I won’t eat within a weeks’ time in 2 cup containers in the freezer. This makes it easy to take for lunch or reheat for a quick weeknight meal. It is delicious served over brown rice or with whole grain bread, crackers or pita.

4 tablespoons olive oil*
1 large, or 2 medium onions, ¼ to ½-inch dice
2 stalks celery, ¼ to ½-inch dice
4 medium carrots, ¼ to ½-inch dice
1 cup diced sweet potato, potato, or winter squash
1 cup ¼ to ½-inch diced summer squash or zucchini
6 tablespoons finely minced cilantro stems and roots
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
28-ounces tomato sauce (low-sodium, if possible)
2 cups red lentils
2 small limes, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 scallions, sliced thinly on a bias

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 6 to 8 quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring occasionally. If onions begin to cook to quickly and stick or become deep brown in spots, turn heat down to medium.
  2. While onion is cooking, chop and add celery, carrots, sweet potato, summer squash and cilantro stems, 1 teaspoon salt, turmeric and cumin to the pot, continuing to stir occasionally. If the vegetables begin to brown or stick, cover with a lid. Cook for 5 min.
  3. Add tomato sauce, 8 cups of water and lentils. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid; soup should be simmering (lightly bubbling). Cook for 30 minutes. Stir frequently for the first 10 minutes or lentils will stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. When the soup is nearly done, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over high heat. When oil just starts to smoke, add in scallions and stir-fry until the edges crisp and brown slightly. Remove scallions from pan and set aside for garnishing.
  5. Season soup to taste with lime juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Serve soup sprinkled with scallions. Stir remaining scallions into the soup when you’re putting the soup away after dinner.

*If you prefer crunchy scallions, heat enough oil to truly fry the scallions (about 1 cup) and cook the scallions in 2 batches. You can scoop the scallions out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve the leftover oil for other uses; it is great for salad dressings, pastas, and drizzled over baked potatoes or roasted vegetables.

Makes: 18 cups (9 bowls)

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