Red Lentil Coconut Soup

Becoming a mom cut my social time by 90% and upgraded my cooking time by 200%.  So, instead of having dinner with friends, most of the time I’m in my kitchen wondering what I’m going to cook for supper......

Becoming a mom cut my social time by 90% and upgraded my cooking time by 200%.  So, instead of having dinner with friends, most of the time I’m in my kitchen wondering what I’m going to cook for supper... or am I making breakfast, or am I packing lunches?  This week, I went against nature and I combined some more social time and my kitchen duties.  I joined my friends at the Family Support Centre in Bridgewater for a cooking morning.  They have the ideas, we cook and then we eat!!  Love this formula.  Their recipes are easy, affordable and in enough quantity to feed a family.  Remember when I said in a previous blog to hide from your kids? Ha! During the time I was cooking, my toddlers were playing upstairs, because they have free daycare.  Another word that I cherish:  FREE.

Cooking at Family Resources Center
Cooking at Family Support Center

In this perfect cooking set up, we made this delicious red lentil coconut soup.  It was my first time cooking with coconut milk.  What a nice twist for a soup, and you can buy it for almost nothing in every grocery store.  What do you say about the red lentils?  During the winter, I’m a fan of pea soup.  I cook it often just because it’s filling, it’s good and so cheap.  But peas take long to cook.  Red lentils cook quickly since their exteriors are soft and easy for water to penetrate.  In about 20 minutes, your soup is ready.  Another great fact about lentils is that they are a nutritional all-star. They're rich in fiber and contain about a steak's worth of protein.  So, after cooking this soup, I’ll add more lentils in my life for sure!

Red Lentil Coconut Soup
Red Lentil Coconut Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno or Serrano chili, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Instructions:

  1. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant.
  3. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes adding the lime juice at the end of cooking.
  4. Taste and adjust with more salt or more lime juice if desired.
  5. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.

This vegan soup is all about the spices.  So many flavors combined perfectly to give you a memorable taste of India.  I love cooking with spices, but sometimes it’s hard to find the perfect match.  You really need to know each spice pretty well to use it properly.  This recipe found the perfect match for you.  I would have never thought about mixing cinnamon, ginger, curry, cilantro and lime together.  The result is fresh, different and delectable.  We are far from my old fashion boring pea soup.

Thank you Bridgewater Family Resources Center, you put more spices in my life and in different ways!

To go along with this soup, the same day we cooked a Monkey bread.  Made with olive oil and spices, the fresh cooked bread made a great addition to our meal.  To know more about the Monkey Bread recipe, stay tuned.  I’ll give you this amazing recipe in an upcoming blog.