Red Lentil Soup with Carrot & Ginger
An elegant first course in a cup or a hearty satisfying main course in a bowl, you can go either way with this Carrot & Ginger Spiced Red Lentil Soup.
Red lentils, carrots and ginger are the main players and with a few spices, this red lentil soup is surprisingly flavorful. The instructions make it look like it takes long, but this soup is ready to serve in less than 45 minutes.
Red lentils will fade in color to yellow during cooking. To keep some of that beautiful orange hue, try to find the deepest orange carrots to get more color. The carrots are beautiful at the Farmers market these days. The mild or sweet red pepper paste will also bring back some of the bright hue, and deepens the flavor. I have made with and without, but far prefer with the red pepper paste. Red pepper paste can be found at Mediterranean markets, Spanish markets and specialty grocery stores. If you can’t find the red pepper paste, jarred whole red peppers is a good replacement. You can blend one red pepper in a hand blender before adding to the soup. The terms mild and sweet on are the same in that the peppers don’t have any piquante or heat (some labels call it mild, some call it sweet). I find it the best as the “hot” is overpowering for this recipe. Be sure to read and compare labels for the sodium content to find the most appropriate for you (sodium levels range from about 40mg to 400mg per tablespoon).
I have used both older ginger (what is typically found in the grocery store) and young ginger found at the Farmers market for this soup and they both flavor up the soup nicely. Ginger when young has more moisture, a brighter flavor and is less fibrous. When using older ginger, be sure to remove any long fibers before adding to the soup.
The potatoes are cooked separately so they don’t get too soft and it gives an opportunity to add more flavor. The potatoes add an extra texture that plays nicely with the dahl-like soup. The spice quantities used on the potatoes are estimated. because sprinkling gives a better distribution then pouring theme on the potatoes. I add the potatoes to the individual cups or bowls, but you can certainly add to the whole pot once they are cooked through. I keep separate when I know there is going to be some leftover so the potatoes don’t become too soft for the next day.
The splash of apple cider vinegar and the extra grated ginger really wakes up the flavors and adds a brightness. For color and an extra hit of piquant, a little sprinkle of the Aleppo pepper is a nice touch on the individual cups or bowls.
Tools Used in this Recipe
- salad spinner
- scrub gloves or vegetable brush
- prep bowls
- chef knife
- cutting board
- white plate
- Dutch oven
- wooden spatula
- measuring cup
- hand blender