It’s blizzarding here in the Northeast, which means that I’m singularly focused on cooking all of the warm and cozy things. Naturally, I’m making soup, a staple on my menus during the colder months. It’s the perfect way to use up any vegetables you have languishing in the fridge, and if your pantry is well stocked with beans and legumes, you have a complete, nourishing meal at your fingertips.
I usually do my cooking during my younger daughter’s nap time, so things have to either be intensely pre-meditated and prepped (see: client work) or fairly simple and quick. I wanted something for lunch that felt a little decadent, while maintaining some semblance of nutritional integrity. When the snow started I started chopping anything that looked good in the crisper drawer, rifled through the spice rack, and poked around the pantry until I found the makings of this very easy, very delicious Coconut Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup. Imagine my delight when my (fairly picky) 6 year old declared her enthusiasm for the soup, and asked for seconds! Suffice it to say that this will now be on regular rotation in my home, and I hope it makes its way into yours, too!
Feel free to make substitutions here – Yukon gold potatoes instead of russets, cauliflower in place of broccoli, zucchini swapped in for the mushrooms, shelled edamame instead of peas… you get the idea! You can also use vegetable stock in place of water, too – just know that you may need to adjust the salt levels depending on how much sodium your stock has in it.
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into ½” dice (approximately 1 ½ cups)
2 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
4 cups water
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
½ cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground turmeric powder
1 bay leaf
½ cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp tamari
1 tsp rice vinegar
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add potato, broccoli, and mushrooms and cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add water, coconut milk, red lentils, salt, black pepper, curry powder, turmeric, and bay leaf, stirring to combine. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the lentils and potatoes are tender. Add frozen peas, tamari, and rice vinegar and let cook 1-2 more minutes, or until the peas have thawed and soup is at desired serving temperature.
Remove bay leaf and discard/compost. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately with fresh cilantro garnish, if desired.