Lentil Soup

I know it’s not really soup weather YET, but when it has been a long stretch of 100+ degree weather, we’ll take what we can get! And ever since my friend Nathan sent me this recipe from Bangladesh (for our International Festival cookbook), I’ve been wanting to try it.

I grew up eating my mom’s lentil soup regularly. Her version had hamburger and some spices – I’m not even sure what anymore because I’ve corrupted it over the years making it for myself (usually at least bay leaf, black pepper, and ground cumin when I make it).  This lentil soup recipe is similar, but vegetarian. It includes spinach (or cabbage) and a bit of vinegar, which gives it an unique tangy flavor. I like it a lot, but then again I’ve NEVER met a lentil soup I didn’t like :)

Tomato Dal Soup
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried basil
2 c. diced tomatoes
2 c. dry lentils
8 c. water
1/2 c. spinach or cabbage, rinsed and thinly sliced (I use cabbage)
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. cumin (or to taste)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Before serving stir in spinach or cabbage, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper and cumin, and more vinegar if desired.

Optional: Pulse in a blender (before adding spinach or cabbage) to make a smoother consistency. If you want you can also add a bit of cayenne pepper and cinnamon

Recipe from: Nathan Charles, working with Mennonite Central Committee in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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