Recipe for slow cooker vegan lentil and chickpea soup
While looking for inspiration in my pantry last week, I discovered a long-forgotten bag of small brown lentils, the kind you buy in bulk at Indian grocery stores. I had canned chickpeas on the shelf, too, and a vision of a brown-on-brown soup came to me. Cumin, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne pepper kept the soup in the same color palette, and some fresh cilantro added at the end provided contrast in both hue and taste. If you have a good strong mushroom or vegetable stock in your freezer, you can use that as the broth. And if you're not vegan, top the soup with a bit of yogurt when you serve.
Slow cooker vegan lentil and chickpea soup
2 cups small brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ginger paste or grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced or 1-1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 tsp kosher salt
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, roughly chopped, plus additional for garnish
In a 3-quart slow cooker, add the lentils, ginger paste (or fresh ginger), garlic or garlic paste, onion, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir together.
Add 7 cups of water. Turn the cooker to HIGH, cover, and cook for 2 hours.
Uncover the slow cooker and stir in the chickpeas and cilantro. Continue to cook on HIGH, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Serve hot, topped with additional cilantro.