Lentils are a staple in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, but they’re also very popular with anyone who is trying to eat a nutritious, protein-rich meal on a budget. I love lentils, particularly as a soup.
Lentil soup is a fantastic week-day dinner to make during the cold season, as it warms your belly and really fills you up. It’s more of a stew, but here in Germany we still refer to it as soup. Plus, it’s really easy to make and once you have added all the spices, you can begin setting the table and just relax reading the paper or perusing the internet while the lentils simmer themselves tender. I used to just cook my lentil soup in regular old vegetable broth, until I met my mother-in-law who had the genius idea of cooking it with a hint of curry-inspired spices. So exciting! I’ve been making my lentil soup exactly this way ever since.
My husband eats lentils with vegetarian sausages. We are both huge fans of the (vegetarian, not vegan) Wiener-imitation sausages sold by Eden, which you can buy at any Reformhaus in Germany. You can buy them as tiny cocktail-sausages or in a larger version (called Knackwürste).I always need a side of brown rice and a scoop of plain yoghurt with my bowl of lentil soup. You might choose to eat this soup out of a gluten-free bread bowl or all by itself. If you’re from the southern part of Germany, you may want to add a dash of vinegar, because that’s how it’s done there.
One word of advice: lentils can be contaminated with grains that contain gluten, because they’re grown on the same fields as wheat or barley. I therefore recommend spreading out whatever lentils you plan on eating and looking through them carefully and picking out any foreign grains just to be safe.
One cup lentils (you can use any of the green/brown lentils available to you, such as puy, etc)
one medium onion
one small carrot
two medium potatoes
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground turmeric (a.k.a. curcuma)
1 tbsp caraway
a dash of chili flakes
1,5 litre vegetable broth
optional company for this dish: yoghurt, brown rice or vegetarian sausages.
Peel the onion and chop it up. Turn on your stove and place a medium-sized pot with a bit of vegetable oil on it. Once the vegetable oil has warmed up, add the onions and fry them by themselves for about three or four minutes. Meanwhile, wash your lentils under running water with the help of a colander. Place them into the warm pot and pour most of the vegetable broth of them. Add all the spices and continue boiling. Then, peel both the carrot and the potatoes and chop them into small cubes. Add the carrot cubes to the soup and let simmer. Add the potatoes after about five minutes. Continue simmering your lentil soup until the lentils are tender, about another ten minutes. You may have to add more vegetable broth (or water) along the way and adjust the spice level as the lentils tend to absorb a lot of the spices flavor while cooking. If you want to serve vegetarian or vegan sausages with your soup, I suggest adding these now and giving your soup another good long boil. Once all lentils are tender and your soup has received enough spice, ladle your soup into a bowl or soup dish and serve while still warm.