Since the weather is cool, I tend to gravitate toward warm, cozy soups.The warmth of this soup is intensified with the deep flavors of the curried brown butter and spicy kick from the curry and red pepper flakes. It’s amazingly delicious and I could not recommend it more. Even people who aren’t big lentil or curry fans found this soup tasty.
My slight modifications and recommendations:
I used whatever lentils I had on hand (brownish). You don’t need to go out of your way to get green lentils unless you just want to.
I didn’t use the coconut milk. I didn’t think it needed it, so I subbed a bit more broth in it’s place.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min. Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green (or any color) lentils
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)
Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth.
Stir in the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled sprinkled with chives and crusty bread or naan.
When I’m in need of some real ‘comfort’ food – something with sustenance and will make me feel full and satisfied, I almost always turn to this easy, ‘meaty’ recipe for vegetarian lentil loaf (‘meatloaf’) with mashed cauliflower “potatoes”. With its high protein and fiber, combined with low calorie content and tons of flavor, what’s not to like? Even my meat eating husband will make a meal out of this lovely little loaf (thanks, mom, for showing me the recipe!). Serve it up with some steamed green beans and you have the perfect all-American dinner. Plus, it makes great leftovers (a sandwich, maybe?). I even think it might taste better after sitting overnight after the flavors have really mixed. Try it out and enjoy!
Vegetarian Lentil (“Meat”) Loaf
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup oats
3/4 cup lowfat cheese (2% cheddar or mixed), shredded
2 egg whites (or 1 egg), lightly beaten
1/2 cup marinara sauce (I usually use Trader Joe’s “traditional” marinara sauce)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp barbecue sauce (I use Trader Joe’s)
2 Tbsp ketchup
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring water and a dash of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add lentils and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of the water is evaporated. Drain and lightly mash lentils
Stir in onions, oats and cheese. Add egg, marinara sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Spread mixture into a non-stick or greased loaf pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Mix barbecue sauce and catchup together and spread over the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until edges look dry, firm and golden brown.
Cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan, slice and serve.
Place cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle water over the top and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave 5-7 minutes, until very soft.
Drain and use a paper towel to press out access moisture, taking care as the cauliflower will be very hot.
Place cauliflower in a food processor with garlic. Process until lightly pureed. Add sour cream, milk, cream cheese and butter. Continue to process adding additional milk as needed until they reach a desirable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.