OK so yesterday in NYC it was terribly dreary, cloudy and grey out all day. Those are the kind of days for me when all I crave is a big hearty soup, a dinner where I can get so many nutrients and health benfeits in one bowl. Soups are my all time favorite and lets face it once the heat of summer hits, other than Gazpacho- soups are kicked to the curb for a while. I use any rainy day as an excuse for SOUP...
Red Lentils like the ones used in this soup are packed with tons of fiber, protein, and even folate and iron. I use red lentils instead of brown for different reasons. Firstly, red lentils take half the time to cook as brown do! and secondly, I like the consistency that the red lentils make ater they simmer for a while, it forms this really thick soup and the lentils sort of cook into the entire liquid of the soup and lose their shape whereas brown lentils retain their shape no matter how long they cook.
If you've never cooked red lentils before dont be fooled they arent red after they cook long enough they really look more like a yellowish light brown color.
Red Lentil Soup
1 large onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic crushed
2 cups red lentils
1 cup barley (my favorite kind to use is pearled barley I love the crunchy texture)
8 cups water
1 tspn. cumin
1 1/2 tspn. cardamon
3 tspn. coriander
3 tspn. sea salt (you can add more after cooking based on your own salt desire, always salt after legumes cook because the salt slows down the cooking of legumes)
(Sidenote: if you're not a barley lover u can just leave it out, I LOVE it but if I'm ever out of barley I make the soup without and its just as good. However if leaving out the barley make sure you only use 6 cups of water and not 8)
Step 1: Drizzle olive oil in medium size stock pot, set flame to low, once oil is warm but not too hot add onions, let onions become translucent and add crushed garlic, let onion garlic mixture brown.
Step 2: Add coriander, cumin, cardamon, and sea salt to the onion and garlic saute mixture, mix it up. At this point I add a few tablespoons of water to the spice mixture just so it doesn't stick to the pot and this way I avoid using more oil. Make sure the mixture is combined well.
Step 3: Add the red lentils, and barley and combine into the onion garlic spice mixture, once well combined add the 8 cups of water, cover, put flame to low and let it cook at least an hour! I let it keep on cooking after that because I like it super thick but the consistency is your preference. After it is finished cooking, taste and add sea salt if necessary to your little taste buds ; )