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Persian Red Lentil & Onion Soup


Red lentils are these little powerhouses of nutrition. Something to the tune of 25% of its calories are in the form of protein. That's a LOT of protein! They're also very high in fibre, packing a wallop at 31 grams of dietary fibre per 100 grams of raw product. 100 grams of lentils also carries 7.5 mg of iron (the US RDA for iron is 18 mg per day). Bottom line being that if you're looking for a legume that you haven't used as of yet, give the red lentil a shot, and see where it takes you.

They cook up relatively quickly. From the time the water reaches a boil, they're usually done through in about 20 minutes or so (give or take). This recipe is for a red lentil and onion soup that is comforting, and filling, while being very easy to make. In this particular recipe, however, you want the red lentils to be absolutely falling apart, so they cook a bit longer than they strictly need.

1 TB olive oil
3/4 lb (one large or two medium) onions, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 cup red lentils
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) boiling water
1 tsp sugar, sucanat, agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp mint, chopped fine
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Place oil into the bottom of your stock pot. Add onions and turmeric, and sauté gently until the onions are softened through, but not browned. Add the red lentils, water, and sugar, and let the water come up to the boil. When the water is boiling, drop the heat down to medium-low, and cover the lid. Let the soup cook for about 45 minutes.

When the lentils have turned from red to yellow, and are falling apart, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, cinnamon, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat, and let it sit for another five minutes or so.

You don't want to cook the cinnamon or the fresh mint very much, so you add them towards the end. If you prefer the red lentils to cook down a fair bit more, go ahead and do so, and it'll still be delicious.
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