Like Egyptian Lentil Onion Soup
My all time favorite go-to lentil soup (because lentil soup is such an important staple everyone should know how to make) is from Donna Klein’s Mediterranean Vegan; it’s familiar and homey yet with the exciting twist of abundant onions and fragrant fennel seeds roasted in olive oil, then stirred into the finished soup.
My modifications: I fry the onions on the stovetop to gently caramelize them a little, then a touch of red wine vinegar at the end brings all of the sweet hearty flavors together. For entirely different lentil soups try this with black, red or brown lentils instead of the common green lentils. Brown and black will retain their little chewy shapes and red lentils will break down into a creamy, soothing soup.
Tip: Always sort through lentils to find and remove any debris from any dried beans
- 2 cups dry lentils: green, brown, red or black
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (use 1/2 teapsoon if using very salty veggie broth)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced very small
- 1 stalk celery, diced very small
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 3 large red onions, peeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Few twists of freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large soup pot over high heat combine lentils, water or vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt, carrot, celery, and diced yellow onion. Bring to a rolling boil, stir and lower heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer lentils for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and vegetables are tender.
2. While lentils are cooking, slice red onions in half and slice into the thinnest half moons possible, less than 1/4 inch thin or even less. Fry the fennel and cumin seeds in the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute, then stir in red pepper flakes and onion. Fry onions for 15-25 minutes until onions are very soft and well browned. Stir in garlic and fry for 1 minute, then turn off heat.
3. After lentils have been cooking for 40 minutes, stir in the cooked onions. Scoop up 1/2 cup of liquid from the soup and stir into the skillet to rinse off any of the cooking oils and return to the soup pot. Simmer soup for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, season with red wine vinegar, pepper and additional salt if necessary. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. When reheating the soup you may want to thin the thickened soup slightly with water or broth.