The rainy days are upon us and how best to enjoy it than with a warm bowl of a hearty and filling soup? This black lentil soup is very easy to prepare, tasty, and you can add your leftover meats to enhance the flavor or keep it vegetarian-friendly. Or make it vegan by replacing butter with a plant-based fat of your choice.
The cumin and black pepper adds a nice kick to the dish while the cilantro, celery, onions and carrots keep it light and fresh. I like to use dried black beans to this recipe but you can also use the canned version usually found in the international aisle in the local grocery stores (found some in Metro Supermarket in Ayala together with the canned sun-dried tomatoes and capers).
You can cook it in a Dutch oven (as I did mine), slow cooker, or on the stove-top. This recipe makes around six servings. It stores really well in the freezer for weeks. This simple black lentil soup is perfect on its own or served with rice or garlic bread. I hope you enjoy it.
Wash the black beans before cooking. You can significantly cut down on the cooking time by soaking the beans in water overnight but I find that this takes away some of the flavors. What I do instead is prepare it around noon if I want it for dinner.
Cumin powder will work for this recipe if you don't have the whole seeds. However, you will get a more fragrant and flavorful broth if you use the whole seeds. If you have a mortar and pestle, crush the whole seeds together with a bit of rock salt to release the oils before you saute the spices.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 4 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cups dried black beans or 4 15oz cans
- 4 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper powder to taste
- Red chili flakes *optional
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
- In the Dutch oven or a medium-sized soup pot, saute onions, garlic, and cumin in butter until fragrant and onion and garlic is slightly caramelized. Add carrots and celery, cook and stir occasionally for about a minute or so.
- Add black lentils to the pot and saute for about a minute. Pour water or broth and bring to a simmer, let it cook for an hour or so on medium heat or until beans are tender and soup is flavorful. Add lemon juice, salt and garlic to taste.
- For a nice, thick consistency, scoop out a third of the soup and blitz into the blender for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a blender, you can mash it with a fork but be extra careful as it’s very hot. When done, pour back into the pot and mix well with the rest of the soup.
- Scoop in bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.