Friday, January 01, 2010

Recipe for Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro (Vegan)

Mexican Red Lentil StewIt's the first day of a brand new decade! Especially for anyone who's getting started on the South Beach diet, we're going to start the year off with a very healthful phase one soup that's not only inexpensive and easy to make, but vegan as well. I adapted this recipe from a new-to-me blog called Budget Bytes, who had adapted it from Andrea Meyers, so you can tell the recipe has a lot of fans! My brother Rand, his partner Bradley, and my nephew Jake all tasted this soup and declared it a winner. I'm having my annual New Year's Day Soup Party today, and this is one of the soups I'm serving.

If you're starting the South Beach Diet in January, or just doing a little phase one tune-up like I do every year, be sure to check out the brand-spanking new Index of South Beach Diet Phase One Recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen. The index will be really helpful for anyone who's doing phase one. I wanted to start the new year with a recipe, but I'll be posting the latest monthly South Beach Diet Phase One Round-up of phase one recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen and other blogs tomorrow. Thanks to my wonderful brother Rand for the new header to remind you that we'll be concentrating on phase one recipes for the entire month of January. Phase one really can be easy, and there's a lot of delicious phase one food coming up.

Red lentils are great for soup because they cook quickly and this recipe starts by bringing the lentils and water to a boil, then letting the lentils sit covered for 30 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking in the hot water, saute chopped onions and celery in olive oil for a few minutes, then add minced garlic and cook a bit more.

Add turmeric, cumin, and chile powder and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Then add the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, and hot sauce, and let simmer while lentils finish cooking.

When lentils have cooked in the hot water for 30 minutes, add the softened lentils and water to the soup pot and cook about 15-30 minutes more, until lentils are soft.

At this point the soup isn't too much in the looks department, but your kitchen will be smelling wonderful. Taste and see if you want to add salt, pepper, or any more hot sauce.

While soup cooks, chop up a good-sized bunch of cilantro. (I used a whole cup of chopped cilantro, but you could get by with less.)

When lentils are soft and starting to dissolve into the soup, add the lime juice and cilantro and cook about 5 minutes more. Serve the soup with more limes to squeeze if desired. This is good with a dollop of sour cream or vegan sour cream substitute.


Mexican Red Lentil Stew with Lime and Cilantro
(Makes 4-6 servings, but this freezes well and can easily be doubled. Recipe adapted from Mexican Lentil Stew at Budget Bytes and Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup at Andrea Meyers.)

Ingredients:
1 cup dry red lentils
2 cups water
1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 T minced garlic (or less, but I like a lot of garlic)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chile powder
1 can roasted tomatoes (I like petite dice tomatoes for soup)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp. green Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce of your choice. Green Tabasco is fairly mild, so you may want less if you use a stronger hot sauce.)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes, or less if you're not that into lime)
1/2 - 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Optional: cut limes and sour cream or vegan sour cream substitute for serving the soup

Instructions:
Put red lentils in a small pot, rinse and drain if needed, then add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and cover. Let lentils sit in the hot water 30 minutes.

While lentils are cooking in the water, finely chop onions and celery and mince garlic (or you can use minced garlic from a jar like I did.) Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot, add onion and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes, just long enough that vegetables are starting to soften. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add ground turmeric, ground cumin, and chile powder, stir, and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add diced roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth, and hot sauce. Add lentils after they have soaked for 30 minutes, then let soup simmer for 15-30 minutes (or until lentils are as soft as you'd like them. I simmered it about 25 minutes.)

While soup cooks, wash, dry and finely chop 1/2 - 1 cup fresh cilantro and squeeze limes to get 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. When the lentils are softened as much as you'd like, stir in chopped cilantro and lime juice and cook 5 minutes more.

Serve hot, with additional cut limes to squeeze into the soup. Can top with sour cream or vegan substitute if desired.


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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is a great main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Ideas with Red Lentils:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew from Kalyn's Kitchen
Red Lentil Soup from 101 Cookbooks
Syrian Red Lentil Soup from Herbivoracious
Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt from A Life (Time) of Cooking
Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dandelion Greens from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit

64 comments:

  1. This looks great! And I just happen to have some lentils and cilantro to use up. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Kalyn, this is perfect...after two weeks of serious overindulgence (seven bowls of guacamole. SEVEN!), this soup looks nourishing and simple. I am putting it on my menu for this week! I'll let you know how it goes.

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  3. I love lentil soups, and it's good luck for the New Year, too! A New Year's Day soup party is such a great idea!

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  4. I love the new header you have.

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  5. I've printed this recipe to make next week. I have never had lentils. I really need to expand my horizons. This soups sounds great. Love the printer friendly recipe!

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  6. This looks great and a perfect start to the new year of recipes! When I saw the picture and read that it was red lentils the first thought was how did you get the red lentils to retain their shapes after cooking.. that had been my main issue with my red lentil soups so far.. they just fall apart too quickly. I think the trick here is to let them soak in hot water, right? Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I'm so glad you like the soup! It's one of our winter favorites and so easy to make. Happy New Year!

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  8. This stew looks delicious and is just what I need to kick off the new year with a healthy start. Thanks so much for the sweet comment you left on my blog! I have been reading yours since way before I started blogging and have found it so inspirational. Happy New Year!

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  9. Thanks! I'll be starting the diet on Monday, so I've been going through your phase 1 recipes already. I have a family of four to feed and usually plan a week at a time, so the indices have been very helpful. Thanks so much!

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  10. It is so cold here now, and my neighbor asked for help getting his Christmas lights down (she is a really nice older lady that looks after our cats... i could never refuse her). I am still shivering, and want this soup so bad

    Happy new year

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  11. Really beautiful. The limes make me salivate! Happy New Year, Kalyn! xox

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  12. Oh Kalyn this looks so gorgeous it makes me long for winter! :) I love red lentils, they sort of squish down to a yummy yummy base for soups or dals. The lime and cilantro combo with it sounds lovely.

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  13. Happy New Year to you, Kalyn. Thank you sooooo much for all the great recipes you have provided. I LOVE it.

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  14. Wow, this looks tasty! I think I have green lentils in my cupboard- do you think I could use those or should I get myself to the store before the snow arrives to get red lentils? Can't wait to try it. Happy New Year!

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  15. I'm a long time reader and fellow South Beacher but have never commented. I too am starting Phase 1 for a little tune up. LOVE the new index! I'vetried and enjoyed MANY of your recipes since your site was recommended to me almost two years ago and wanted you to know how much I appreciate being able to find delicious and imaginative South Beach friendly food! I'm making your salmon packets with tomatoes, garlic, saffron and olives for friends tonight.

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  16. Sorry I'm not responding much to comments, but we're having a soup party here! Just wanted to say that green lentils won't be the same at all in this. The red lentils dissolve much more quickly and are milder in flavor. It might taste okay with green ones, but the cooking time and flavor will be very different.

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  17. What a heavenly way to start of 2010. Lentils are some of my favorite legumes, so thanks for sharing.

    Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and perfectly fabulous 2010.

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  18. Cilantro! Yay! ;-)

    This is a wonderful recipe with which to start 2010. Thank you. I look forward to trying this recipe.

    Happy New Year!

    Paz

    P.S. I love the new header, too. Your brother always does a wonderful job.

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  19. I love this recipe! I've got red lentils in the pantry and have been thinking about what i will make with them. Now I know!

    Wishing you a very happy, healthy and proserous New Year Kalyn!

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  20. Delicious New Years Soup Party, Kalyn. I had a good sampling of all four soups, the Hopping John, the Mexican Red Lentil, the Sauerkraut, and I forgot the other soup name. I understand if you sip these soups, they all have some significance to good luck in the New Year. Great, because they were all incredibly tasty along with the good luck.
    Thanks again.

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  21. Could I add smoked turkey sausage to this and still have be phase one?

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  22. Thanks for the New Year's wishes everyone!

    Minda, that would be fine.

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  23. Could I use green lentils in this soup instead of red? (I have some green ones that I need to use up)

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  24. Joanna, green lentils won't be the same at all in this. The red lentils dissolve much more quickly and are milder in flavor. It might taste okay with green ones, but the cooking time and flavor will be very different. (I already answered that in a comment above, so I just copied the answer again here.)

    I wouldn't use green lentils for this.

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  25. Ok, I added some smoked turkey sausage and used chicken broth. Holy guacamole! It is delish, two thumbs up!

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  26. Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

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  27. That is a great recipe:)

    Thank you very much for posting it.

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  28. This is excellent! Made it two nights ago and we have been eating leftovers for lunch. My boyfriends wants it put into regular rotation.

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  29. Made this the other day and it is delicious! Making another batch this weekend.

    Thank you for sharing. Every time I do phase one again I come to your blog for new recipes. :)

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  30. Hi,

    Just found this site yesterday, it's fantastic! I'm on Phase one of South Beach and all the recipes look great. :-)

    I did want to point out, however, that some of the recipes use Spike seasoning, which despite its claims does contain MSG (referred to in the ingredients as 'high flavor yeast' - the second ingredient, so there's a lot of it). So those allergic to MSG should not use Spike seasoning.

    Keep up the great work, Kalyn! I'll be checking this site often!

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  31. this was the best soup ever! I added more lentils to make it thicker and also a tiny bit of sausage. It is my new favourite. AWESOME.

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  32. We made this tonight and Loved it! we added lots of lime when we served it. thanks!

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  33. I'm behind on responding to comments here, but I'm glad people are enjoying the soup!

    I'm not going to get into a discussion about Spike or MSG on this post, but you can read my thoughts about Spike Seasoning in a post I wrote about it.

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  34. Just wanted to tell you how much we loved this stew! I've never cooked with lentils before, but the recipe made it easy. I added some turkey sausage (as suggested by another reader) and it turned out beautifully! This will definitely become one of our staples. Thank you for sharing your terrific recipes!

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  35. Maura, glad you liked it. I agree, this was a keeper for me too!

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  36. I made this a few weeks ago and it was very tastey! I will definately make this again. I love that its a vegan recipe. We are trying to cut down to eating meat only once or twice a week so this is wonderful!Next time I think I will some carrots and zucchini. Thanks for sharing!

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  37. Glad you liked it. I definitely thought this was delicious made completely without meat.

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  38. I love all of your recipes, but this is by far one of my favorites. I wrecked it's phase one qualification by adding brown rice, but I'm sure it would be great with only lentils.

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  39. Katie, this is one of my favorites too; in fact just ate some out of the freezer a few days ago!

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  40. I'm making this recipe for about the fourth time today - I love it, and continue to come back to it, even in sunny and warm weather. It is just so healthy and tasty! Thanks.
    Sandy

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  41. Sandy, so glad you're enjoying it. I made this for my annual soup party in December, and it was a hit there too!

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  42. This was SO good! I doubled it, and even though I only had one (large) lime on hand, it turned out fabulously. Thanks for such a great, easy recipe.

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  43. Alison, very glad you liked it!

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  44. I just found your blog and this was the first recipe I tried. I *love* it, the lime juice just makes it. My husband loves lentil soup in general and this was a big hit. Had it for dinner last night and eating it for lunch today. (i added some chopped red pepper too, had lots in the fridge!)

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  45. Glad you are highlighting this recipe again. Every time I make it, I am always amazed by how wonderful it tastes. It's my favorite red lentil recipe. Thanks!

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  46. Julie, thanks for that nice feedback. I love hearing that you've enjoyed it.

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  47. I have this on my menu for this week, I'm looking forward to trying it out.

    I think that you've got a typo in your Tabasco spelling though =)

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  48. Thank you! You know how there are some words you just never can get right? Tabasco is one of those for me! Will fix right now.

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  49. I unveganized this by adding chicken to beef it up a little bit and it was fab! Thanks for the recipe =)

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  50. I do think chicken will be a great addition to this for those who want it; great idea!

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  51. i love this recipe but ive never been a fan of cilantro so i chop up all the lighter green leaves form the celery and use them instead :) still tastes awesome

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  52. Laura, that's a great idea. I am a cilantro fun, but I also love celery leaves!

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  53. Kalyn, this soup was just what the doctor ordered...thank you! I will be making it again and again, that's for sure!

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  54. Kelly, this is one of my personal favorites as well, so glad you enjoyed it!

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  55. I have never liked lentils until I tried this a year ago. And now I make this stew at least once a week. Probably our favorite of all your recipes! Thanks for the new index, it's perfect.

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    1. So glad you have been enjoying the recipe. The index is now a year old and I think it's been useful for a lot of people!

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  56. Made this tonight after work. Easy and delicious!!!

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  57. I made this last night and it was wonderful!! I love sour cream and thought I'd want to add a big dollop to the stew after it was done, but it was plenty flavorful without it. Nice and hearty...we dunked some multigrain bread in it and it was fantastic. Thanks for sharing this!

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  58. Smells heavenly while cooking, very yummy! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

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  59. I just made this and it is so great! Lots of good spice and flavor, and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  60. Kathleen, my pleasure! So glad you liked it.

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  61. I love lentil soups, This is my kind of soup... I love it :)

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