Makes 4 servings
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1¼ tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
Pinch of cayenne
½ lb (1 heaping cup) brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 small onion, halved
1 bay leaf
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro
Plain low-fat yogurt (optional)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the cumin and cayenne. Stir together briefly, then add the lentils, onion, bay leaf, 1½ quarts water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the broth is aromatic. Add the black pepper and taste, then adjust the seasoning with salt. Discard the onion and bay leaf.
Coarsely purée the soup using an immersion blender or a food mill. Alternatively, purée half of the soup in a blender, 1½ cups at time, covering the top of the blender with a towel to avoid hot splashes, and stir back into the soup. Heat through again.
Stir the cilantro into the soup just before serving. Taste, adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve, garnishing each bowl with a dollop of yogurt.
Nutrition facts (per serving): calories 230, fat 4 g (saturated fat 0.5 g), cholesterol 0 mg, protein 15 g, carbohydrates 34 g, fiber 13 g, sodium 5 mg, sugars 3 g
Reprinted from The Very Best of Recipes for Health by Martha Rose Shulman © 2010 by Rodale Inc. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold. Photographer: Andrew Scrivani.