Curried Lentil Soup … Okay, let’s just call it what it is: Liquid Hummus
Prior to last week’s heat wave in which the Bay Area was subjected to a confusing bout of popsicle and tank top weather, the falling temperatures typically expected after the autumnal equinox were actually getting me in the mood for some hearty soups and stews.
I was looking for something simple and healthy, and Bill and I agreed that a lentil soup was in order. My Internet search for “the best lentil soup ever” quickly directed me to a curried lentil soup thickened with a chickpea puree. Many reviewers lavished praise on this recipe, declaring it “the best lentil soup I have ever tasted” and “magnificent.” With such ringing endorsements, my search was over.
I was especially intrigued by the idea of thickening a soup with a chickpea puree. Bill came into the kitchen while the lentils were simmering and noticed the chickpea puree sitting on the counter next to the stove. When I explained that I was going to add the chickpea puree to thicken the soup, he said, “Oh, so you’re making liquid hummus.” I couldn’t argue with his highly apt soup classification.
Although most legume-based soups are unattractive, this soup was particularly hideous. For that reason, I will attempt to shield you from a full-on view. Here, the soup is artfully obscured behind a decorative bow:
Here, Bill offers a serving suggestion to hide the soup under crushed stale tortilla chips:
This was Bill’s bowl before he went back for more:
Curried Lentil Soup
(modified slightly from bon appetit)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
- 2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder
- 1 cup French green lentils (I used non-French green lentils.)
- 4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Saute the onion and carrot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the onion is translucent, add half of the chopped garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add 2 tablespoons of curry powder to the vegetables, stirring until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the lentils and 4 cups of water. Increase heat to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. (Note: I had to add another 2-3 cups of water while it was cooking to keep everything submerged.)
- While the lentils are cooking, puree the chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the remaining garlic in a food processor.
- Stir the chickpea puree into the lentil soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add additional curry powder if desired.
- You can adjust the consistency of the soup by adding water 1/4 cup at a time.
- Optional serving suggestion: Sprinkle thinly sliced green onions on top and serve with lemon wedges.
- Non-optional serving suggestion: Serve in a very dimly lit room.
This soup was relatively easy to make and turned out quite edible. Bill and I both happily ate our soup and went back for more. That being said, neither of us found it to be the best lentil soup we had ever tasted. Bill gave the soup an edibility score of 3.0, and I gave it a 3.5. We liked the thickness imparted by the chickpea puree, but the chickpea flavor came through slightly, reminding us that we were eating liquid hummus. I thought the flavor improved after a couple of days in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, its appearance remained the same.