Sometimes you just need to cook something simple and nourishing. Maybe you've been frequenting Bob's Donuts a little too often or maybe it's bitterly cold outside and you want something warm and comforting. Sometimes you just need a big bowl of lentils with a loaf of crusty bread. The best part about lentil soup is it's quick, easy, healthy, and filling. And there's all kinds of variations you can do to spice it up.
We spiced ours up with cumin, coriander, fenugreek, fennel seeds, and some Madras curry powder. Toasting the seeds really brings out their flavor and it doesn't take but a few minutes until they're fragrant and golden brown.
This dish is easy because lentils are easy. Just use a 3:1 ratio of water to lentils and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. While the lentils cooked, we sautéed an onion with all the spices and a few cloves of garlic. Then we added a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes along with several handfuls of kale. When the lentils are ready, add them to the tomato-onion mixture and taste for seasonings. I added some chile powder at the end to up the heat a bit.
Heidi from 101 Cookbooks tops her lentil soup with saffron-infused greek yogurt. She steeps a pinch of saffron threads in hot water for a few minutes first before mixing it with the yogurt and a little salt. Yum. If you aren't familiar with 101 Cookbooks yet (or Heidi's cookbook, Super Natural Everyday), I highly recommend that you check it out. In addition to her fantastic collection of wholesome and delicious recipes, she also has great recommendations on what to do and eat in San Francisco. I remember reading her site before I ever dreamed that I would one day be living in SF - reading about all the restaurants, bakeries, parks, and neighborhoods that make this city so unique - I was enchanted before I'd ever even been here. I'm still enchanted.
Anyway, the saffron-infused yogurt went perfectly with our curried lentils. No saffron? Plain yogurt will do just fine.
And because Mady and I love bread and all things CARBS, we of course had to have the cutest little loaf of sourdough to scoop up bites of lentils with. So good and so easy - this dish comes together in barely half an hour. And it makes GREAT leftovers - oodles. Enjoy!