I don’t know about you, but I have this habit of really getting into a food or ingredient, stocking up on it, and then forgetting about it for a while because I found something else, equally as awesome, to cook. I realized this the other day when I noticed I hadn’t touched my jar full of green lentils (they come in red and pink too!) in quite some time. Considering how quickly they cook (20 – 30 minutes) compared to other beans, I didn’t even need to do any planning to get them on my plate (or bowl) for dinner.
And this soup rocks. I know I’ve probably said that about all of the soups at this point – but I guarantee you won’t be able to get enough of this rich, sweet, nutty, and just plain delicious lentil soup. I’m really growing to appreciate the combination of coconut milk and curry. Mix these two ingredients together, pour over anything, and I’ll be happy. I used a sweet curry powder this time, but I’m confident any would work well. It’s all about experimenting, too — right?
Did you know that after soybeans and hemp, lentils have the highest amount of protein by weight? They also contain fiber, folate, and Vitamin B. Not too shabby. Combine with a grain, and you’ve got yourself a complete protein. So grab yourself some bread and dig in.
Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 45 min
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt
A few handfuls of chopped spinach or other greens
1 bunch fresh chives, minced (optional)
Combine the butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple of minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute. When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Then add in the spinach.
Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives if using.
Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson