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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Indian-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup

Indian-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup
If you like going behind the scenes and joining in the kitchen nitty-gritty, you'll want to check out the new online "cook along" called Cook the Book with Denise and Jenni. If you've been hanging around here for any number of years, you may think this sounds familiar. That's because the name is similar to the club I've been participating in (and hosted for a couple of years) since 2009 called Cook the Books (there's an "s" on the end of that one). But they are different.

Cook the Books is a bi-monthly book club in which we read a "foodie book" and then head into our kitchens to cook something inspired by it, then the food is all rounded up on the website for everybody to enjoy together. Cook the Book is a monthly meet-up in which the recipe (or maybe more than one recipe) is featured and cooked together while streaming online. So, similar names, but each unique unto itself.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the new one today. Started by my friend Jenni of Jenni Field's Pastry Chef Online and food stylist extraordinaire Denise Vivaldo, this coast-to-coast cookalong features a different cookbook and cookbook author every month. The author joins either Jenni or Denise in their kitchen and via the magic of the internet, they prepare the recipe together. Anybody is welcome to cook along. By joining the Facebook group, you'll have advance notice of the cookbook and recipe so that you have time to purchase the book or pick it up from the library—but if you're unable to (or just aren't sure if you want the book yet), the recipe will also be provided. As a fun little incentive to join in, if you do cook along and snap a pic of the dish to share by the end of the next day, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of that cookbook.
Indian-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup
Sound fun? I thought so. They've done two so far, but I didn't know about it until just before the second one featuring Kathy Hester. I've talked about Kathy before and reviewed a couple of her awesome vegan cookbooks, so I was excited to join in this month. Although I cooked along, I chose not to go on camera. The cook thing is that you can still interact in real-time by chatting with everybody else watching and asking questions that our hosts will answer.

If you haven't guessed by now, the featured recipe was this Indiana-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup. It was so tasty and so simple...and absolutely perfect timing as this is National Soup Month...that I asked Kathy if she would mind me sharing it with my readers. Since she gave me her blessing, here it is! Thick and hearty with a bit of heat from the garam masala and a bit of sweet from the carrots and sweet potatoes, it's a stick-to-your-bones dish that is perfect for fortifying yourself and your loved ones against the frigid outdoor temps right now. And trust me, you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy and be satisfied by it.

Indian-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup
This thick and hearty red lentil soup is loaded with chunks of vegetables and laced with a bit of heat from Indian spices.
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Indian-Spiced Red Lentil and Veggie Soup
Reprinted with permission from The Easy Vegan Cookbook Copyright ©2015 by Kathy Hester. Published by Page St Publishing.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew vegan carrots sweet potatoes turnip lentils

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) olive oil (or "sauté" in water)
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) minced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (74.5 g) chopped bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (7.5 g) garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 cups (946 ml) water
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) chopped turnip, potato or daikon radish
  • 3/4 cup (144 g) dry red lentils
  • Salt, to taste
Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot and add the onion once it’s hot. Sauté until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, bell pepper, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and coriander, then sauté 3 minutes more. Add the water, carrots, sweet potato, turnip and lentils. Bring to a boil. then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes over medium-low heat until the veggies are tender. Before serving, add salt to taste.

Heat oil over medium heat and add the onion once it’s hot. Sauté until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the sautéed onions and everything else except for the salt to your 4-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 10 hours.

Before serving, add salt to taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

My Notes:
I used olive oil and turnip in the recipe (and next time I want to add rutabaga along with or in place of the turnip) - on the stovetop. I garnished mine with some parsley for freshness and color and chow mein noodles for crunch.

Want to see what you missed? Check it out! I can't wait to find out which cookbook will be featured next month. Stay up to date by checking out the Cook the Book with Denise & Jenni website or the Facebook group.

Creole Okra Corn Soup
Also check out my review of The Easy Vegan Cookbook by Kathy Hester and get the recipe for this vegan Creole Okra Corn Soup.