Monday, September 30, 2013

Red Lentil Soup with Wild Rice


Fall = Soup. Soup = Fall. Right?! Although my husband agrees with this traditional idea of what fall means, he had no idea when he married me that I tend to take this to an extreme at times. (In all fairness, I didn't either. My love of soups has increased exponentially in my adult years, and I owe apologies to my father for failing to appreciate his many soup creations during my childhood.) I seriously love soup, though, and barely wait for the first leaf to fall to the ground before soup bowls become the main serving dish on our dinner table night after night.

One of the things that I particularly love about soups is how flexible and simple they can be. For me, there are few things more satisfying than going head to head with nearly bare cupboards, my husband looking at me wondering when we're going to get around to grocery shopping, and the unspoken "There is absolutely nothing decent to eat in this house," and coming out victorious by presenting a nutritious, tasty, and satisfying soup that looks like I'd been planning it for days. This is one of those soups. It has only a few ingredients, takes minimal prep, and is a one-pot soup wonder. The original recipe is incredibly basic and versatile, and while I can honestly eat it over and over again without tiring of it, my husband did finally admit to me that he was getting bored with it. So, I did a bit of reworking to make this version more interesting - both in taste and textures - by adding in some garam masala (an Asian/Indian flavor blend somewhat like curry), some canned tomatoes, and wild rice in place of simple brown rice. When topped with a drizzle of coconut milk, the final product had a nice combination of spice and flavor, and the rice and tomatoes added a nice blend of textures. My husband was pleased, and I think he'll start letting me add it back into the regular lineup of soups for the next several months of fall. (I should also add that this was a hit with my preschooler, as well. The thick consistency of the lentils, along with the familiar rice and appealing coconut milk, meant that he ate his entire bowl with absolutely none of the usual cajoling!)


Red Lentil Soup with Wild Rice
6 SERVINGS 
PREP: 10 minutes           COOK: 30-40 minutes            READY IN: 50 minutes


  SIMPLE         HEALTHY      YUM
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INGREDIENTS


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon garam masala (optional)
  • 6 cups water (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 1/3 cup red lentils (sorted and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • slivered almonds, if desired

DIRECTIONS


  1. In a large pot over the stovetop, heat oil. Add the chopped onion and red pepper flakes. When the onion starts to cook and becomes translucent, add the garam masala and stir for about 1 minute until it becomes fragrant.
  2. Add the water or stock, red lentils, wild rice, and tomatoes. Turn down heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the red lentils have broken down to make a thick puree. (You can add more water during cooking, if needed, to thin out the soup to the desired consistency.) Taste and add salt, as needed.
  3. Serve soup topped with a drizzle of coconut milk and/or almonds.

NUTRITION FACTS



    1 cup serving    258 calories   5.4 g fat   40.1 g carbs    13.8 g protein    3.8 g sugar 15.1 g dietary fiber   
Happy Soup-making!
Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

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