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October 22, 2011

Seven soups every Saturday: red lentil soup recipes

Cafe Algiers' red lentil soup, recreated by Food on the Food.

What's the difference between red lentils and brown ones? Color (obvious). Size (red lentils are smaller). Sweetness (yes, lentils can be sweet, and red ones are sweeter than brown). And, as fast as brown lentils cook, red ones cook even faster, which makes them perfect in soups. Red lentils might sound exotic, but they're easy to find in supermarkets, Indian groceries, and anywhere Bob's Red Mill products are sold. Some markets sell them in bulk bins; you can buy just as much as you need for a batch of soup. Red lentils don't need a presoak, so you can make lentil soup on the spur of the moment.

Seven red lentil soup recipes caught my eye this week:

Turkish red lentil soup with sumac, from eCurry

Coconut red lentil soup, from 101 Cookbooks

Double lentil, sausage, brown rice, and spinach soup, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Ethiopian-inspired red lentil soup, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Red lentil soup with lemon, from Sassy Radish

Cafe Algiers' red lentil soup, from Food on the Food

Curried squash and red lentil soup, from Shutterbean

Find more delicious red lentil soup recipes on Food Blog Search. Come back every Saturday for seven soup recipes to enjoy any day of the week.

[Photo of Cafe Algiers' red lentil soup by, and used with permission from, Food on the Food.]


Posted by: Jeanette | October 22, 2011 at 09:15 AM

Red lentil soups are my favorite when the weather turns cooler. I especially like red lentil soup with coconut and red curry.

Posted by: Lydia | October 22, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Jeanette, that's one of my favorite combinations, too. Lentils really love the spice (and heat) of the red curry.

Posted by: CJ McD | October 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

I recently made a red lentil soup with lemon almost exactly like the one from Sassy Radish. I used ancho chile powder instead of cayenne and ended up using more generous amounts of lemon juice and oilive oil to suit my taste. The ancho provided a depth of flavor and a slow building heat.

It was very quick and easy to prepare and quite delicious.

It made me fall in love with those little orange morsels of goodness.

Posted by: Kalyn | October 22, 2011 at 11:09 AM

I'm crazy about red lentils and I can tell I would love every one of these!

Posted by: susan g | October 22, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Last night's dinner was a Turkish red lentil soup with bulgur (on FOOD52), and I'm always looking for more. My first encounter was an Egyptian RL Soup in the Time Life Foods of the Middle East, which we all, even the then-young children, loved. This is a great list Lydia, so perfect for the nippy soup season now.

Posted by: Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) | October 22, 2011 at 08:29 PM

CJ, that sounds divine. I love ancho chile powder and don't use it often enough.

Kalyn, I just bought a big bag of red lentils last week and I'm looking forward to giving some of these new-to-me recipes a try.

Susan, red lentil soup with bulgur sounds so satisfying and hearty, perfect for these cooler New England nights.

Posted by: Carol Kirshner | October 27, 2011 at 08:37 AM

We love lentils, but I wish I knew a trick that would keep red lentils from turning that rather unappetizing gray color.

Posted by: Lydia | October 27, 2011 at 08:40 AM

Carol, short of artificial food coloring -- which of course I don't recommend! -- there's no way I know of to keep red lentils red. Isn't that a shame? They're so beautiful before they're cooked.

Posted by: Nicole | November 7, 2011 at 02:50 PM

Have you ever tried the combination red lentil-leek soup, very good, you would think it is split pea soup.

Posted by: Lydia | November 7, 2011 at 02:52 PM

Nicole, that sounds divine. I'll definitely try it.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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