It is no wonder that many cuisines use legumes - they are economical as well as healthful for everyone, very tasty and satisfying. Legumes also are full of fiber - both soluble and insoluble - which helps in keeping our digestive system working in good order in addition to controlling cholesterol. Even the plants themselves are good for the earth in more ways than one: the plants make oxygen as all plants do in addition to producing wonderful food, fix nitrogen in the soil (leguminous plants are famous for this), and the plant material after harvest makes good compost. Legumes are a gift that keep on giving!
Lentils belong to the legume family; lentil soups are classics in many cuisines and this particular one is often served for breakfast, lunch or dinner in countries around the Mediterranean. We enjoyed this one in many of the cities in Turkey; it is pronounced "merchimek chorba" - you are right, here the c is pronounced as ch! With some fresh crusty bread and a green salad, this soup fills the bill in style!
1 Cup Red Lentils (Masoor dal)
1 large Onion
1 clove fresh Garlic
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Red Pepper flakes or to taste
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Carrot, shredded
1 or 2 ripe Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin seeds, freshly ground
1 cup loosely packed fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 Lemon, for serving
Clean, wash and drain the lentils.
In a large soup pot heat the oil and add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Cook stirring until the onions are translucent adding a sprinkle of water to keep the onions from sticking.
Stir in the lentils, 3 cups of water or vegetable broth, and the carrots. Bring to a boil, turn heat down so the soup is just simmering.
Simmer the soup partially covered for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato and the ground cumin and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until lentils and veggies are soft.
The soup may be served as is or pureed - if you choose to puree, do retain a little bit of texture.
Stir in the parsley.
Stir in lemon juice or pass wedges for each diner to add according to taste.