Golden spiced lentil soup.

I’ve been on a soup-making roll lately, partly to prepare for two very different soup-centric cooking classes (last month at the Cooking School at Jungle Jim’s; this week at Dorothy Lane Market’s Culinary Center). And partly because, well, soup. A bowl of homemade soup is pretty much the perfect antidote to the sad desk lunch. Soup is my lunchtime BFF.

Scratching the itch for a tasty lentil soup, I put this Golden Spiced Lentil Soup recipe together. It gets its golden hue from a hit of turmeric, the trendy spice of 2017. Indian cooks and practitioners of holistic Chinese medicine have long recognized turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. It’s getting some attention from researchers and nutritionists (though it’s important to note, as with all such dietary trends, that firm conclusions about turmeric’s health benefits remain to be made).

Whatever its nutritional profile, turmeric is just fun to cook with, adding a sunny golden hue to anything you stir it into. It has a slightly pungent flavor that balances nicely with the sweetness of the lentils and carrots in this soup recipe. Be sure to use fresh turmeric, not the decade-old stuff in the back of your pantry (use fresh cumin, too, for that matter). I love buying spices at Colonel De‘s and Dean’s Mediterranean Imports, both at Findlay Market, because I can purchase just what I need for a recipe and don’t end up with a huge jar that, you know, winds up at the back of my pantry.

Grab some fresh spices and give this easy Golden Spiced Lentil Soup recipe a try!

Golden spiced lentil soup recipe

serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 cup red lentils
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
For serving: olive oil, plain Greek yogurt, pita croutons

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and carrot, and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook 1 minute, stirring, to warm the spices and caramelize the tomato paste. Add broth and lentils. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Using an immersion or regular blender, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky. Season with lemon juice.

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