Two nights ago in preparation for the impending blizzard, my neighbor made a big pot of soup to share with friends. When she dropped it off, she told me it had become her favorite recipe for vegan lentil soup, noting, with a wink, that she always makes it with chicken stock.
My family devoured the soup that evening, and the next day, during the blizzard, I found myself needing more. I later learned that the recipe is an extremely popular one on the vegetarian cooking blog COOKIE + Kate, and I was pleased to discover I had nearly everything on hand to make it: onions, carrots, garlic, crushed tomatoes, lentils, spices, and (chicken) stock.
I set to work dicing and chopping, measuring and stirring, and before I knew it, the soup was simmering away. Continuing the trend of cleaning out my vegetable bin and pantry, I went a step further and dumped in the chickpeas I had cooked over the weekend.
I’ve since made this lentil soup with canned chickpeas, which work just as well as cooked-from-scratch, and water in place of chicken stock. (That works, too.) I now have masses of soup on hand to share with my neighbor, to return the favor.
A few notes:
Lentils: Use any variety you like, but know that the type you use will determine the texture of the soup. Red lentils break down almost completely, which I like, especially in combination with the chickpeas. French green lentils will remain intact, and brown lentils will also hold their shape well.
Chickpeas: You don't have to use them—the original recipe does not call for them—but I like the texture they add. If you start with dried, use 8 ounces, which will yield about 4 cups cooked. Two 15-ounce cans, drained, work just fine, too.
Seasonings: As written, the dominant flavor of the soup is curry, but the flavors could easily be tailored to your liking. For more of a kick, increase the pepper flakes. For more smoke, use more cumin or smoked paprika. Coriander would also be nice here.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion diced, 1.25-1.5 cups
- 2 carrots peeled and diced, 1.25-1.5 cups
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin, see notes above
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- fresh pepper to taste
- 1 cup red lentils
- 4 cups cooked chickpeas, or two 15-oz cans, drained
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or lemon to taste, see notes above
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water