02 February 2018

Creamy Black Lentil Soup

Sometimes I go to grocery stores and buy something I've never cooked with before because it looks interesting. I did that a while ago with some black lentils. Then, of course, they sat in my pantry for a long time because I didn't have a recipe that called for them.

Finally, I decided they had existed, unused, in my pantry long enough, so I started in on some creative googling. I don't remember exactly what search term or random list I found this recipe, but I flagged it as a good option. I loved the idea of a creamy soup with the toothsome chew of lentils. I loved the idea of a subtle influence of Indian flavors. I was intrigued at the addition of tahini.

More importantly, this soup had an ingredient that would make Shana want it, too. See, this beautiful creamy soup calls for eggplant.Shana loooooves eggplant. Me? I feel strongly middling about eggplant. It's fine. I never crave it and will always pick another option over it, but I don't hate it, either. But here, in this recipe, it looked like we would both have something to love. I was right.

Creamy Black Lentil Soup
Adapted from the recipe found here.

olive or other oil
1 1/2 c. roasted eggplant pulp (~3 medium eggplants)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 c. vegetable broth
2 T. tahini
1 c. uncooked black lentils
1/2 T. garam masala
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt to taste (anywhere from none to 1 tsp. or more)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
1. Cut off the stem of the eggplants and then halve them lengthwise. Coat/spray them with oil and place them cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until very, very soft.
2. While the eggplants cool, saute the onion in a bit of oil in a soup pot. Once the onion is close to soft, add the garlic and saute a few minutes more.
3. Add the vegetable broth and reduce heat. Meanwhile, scrape the pulp of the eggplants out into a measuring cup. Don't worry about the small eggplant seeds, just scoop it all.
4. Add the eggplant pulp to the broth and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Add the tahini and bring just a boil.
5. Add the black lentils, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the lentils are done (usually about 20 minutes).
6. Add the spices, tasting for the salt.

Helpful Hints
  • If you are not an eggplant person, you cannot taste the eggplant at all in this soup. Instead, it just lends a really creamy texture. The broth and spices more than cover any eggplant flavor. 
  • This is a gluten-free soup already and will be soy-free if you use a soy-free veggie broth. 
  • If you can't find black lentils, you could use green/brown lentils. They will also hold their shape (avoid red or yellow lentils for this dish) and will cook in the same amount of time. The soup will have a different color, as the black lentils leach some of the color into the soup. 
  • Never used garam masala before? Most grocery stores will have a version. Since garam masala is a blend of spices, each brand may be slightly different in flavor and power. You may find that you need a bit more or less of your brand to achieve your desired taste. 

The post "Creamy Black Lentil Soup" first appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen

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