The answer here is a surprising yes!
Who would have thought? Let me show you.
Traditionally, lentils are best enjoyed in soups or stews using heavy cream, beef stock, or ham. Since my recipes focus on healthier ingredients, I gravitate towards milk free products, vegetables, and as much as possible (possible, but hard for this carnivore!) I avoid poultry, meat, and especially pork! Don’t get me wrong, bacon is still one of my favorite foods and who can turn down steak? That is why I get excited finding recipes that are so delicious; I don’t ever feel I am missing out on the beef.
Last week I shared with you my recipe for ‘Dahl Addas’: southern Iranian red lentil soup. Today I want to share with you another one of my favorite soups using red lentils inspired with flavors of Thailand. I love cooking with red lentils because unlike brown or green ones, they cook much more quickly. So on cooler evenings, I whip up my spicy red lentil soup in about an hour: rich, healthy and robust with flavor in a snap!
Instead of using cream, this soup drives its rich flavors incorporating silky coconut milk; which is, of course, a lot more healthy. Chile, lemongrass, coriander and lime juice spark this soup with a robust tang. Who can have just one bowl?
¼ cup olive oil
2 red onions-chopped into small pieces
1 red jalapeno-seeds removed and chopped
4 cloves of garlic-minced
4 stems of lemon grass- finely chop whit ends and crush with knife the remaining
4-5 leaves of kaffire lime leaves
1 cup red lentils-rinsed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cups coconut milk
3 ½ cups of water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (or more if you want a more tang!)
½ cup scallions-chopped
¾ cup cilantro-chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, jalapeno, garlic and lemongrass and cook for 5 minutes until onions sweat. Stir in coriander, paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Couple of minutes later, add coconut milk, lentils, kaffire leaves and water. Bring to a boil; close the lid and continue to cook on medium low heat for 30 minutes or until lentils are slightly over cooked and soft.
Finally, add lime juice, cilantro and scallions. Check to see if you need to add more salt. Serve immediately. Discard large stems of lemongrass and lime leaves.
Garnish with lime slices and scallions.