|We swooned over this Indian-Spiced Slow Cooker Red Lentil Soup with Spinach and Coconut Milk|
I know some of you are going to take one look at the title of this recipe and veto it because you think the Indian spices, the red lentils, or the spinach is just not going to appeal to you. But that would be truly sad, because the entire time we were making this easy slow cooker soup, Jake and I just couldn't stop tasting it and remarking on how good it was! Admittedly Jake is an Indian food lover, and I'm a fanatic for red lentils, but still we're pretty picky about what we consider to be "blog-worthy" and this delicious soup more than made the cut. If you're not vegan you might like it with a dollop of fat-free Greek Yogurt, and I loved it with a generous squeeze of lime.
The soup was adapted from a recipe for yellow split pea dal I saw in a fun little book called 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker, but truthfully I changed it up quite a bit in my version. What I didn't change is the fact that this delicious soup is vegan, making it a perfect choice for this week's Meatless Monday dinner idea. The soup is also Phase One for the South Beach Diet as long as you have a moderate serving size. (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)
Heat olive oil, then saute the onions until they're slightly brown. Add minced garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, Garam Masala, and ground cinnamon and cook 1-2 minutes more. Put the spiced onions in the slow cooker.
These are the red lentils I love so much for soup. Pick them over and discard anyone discolored ones and rinse with cold water before you add them to the slow cooker. (The soup called for 1 cup of lentils, but Jake and I agreed that next time we'd use 1 1/2 cups for a slightly thicker soup.)
Add the lentils and vegetable broth to the slow cooker with the onions and spices and cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for about 4 hours.
After 2 hours, the ground turmeric had given the lentils a beautiful yellow color and they were starting to dissolve into the soup.
Turn the slow cooker to low and add the coconut milk and chopped spinach and cook about 30 minutes more.
(Makes 4-6 servings; adapted from a recipe for yellow split pea dal in 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker.
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup red lentils (inspiring recipe called for 1 cup, but we agreed that we would prefer more for a thicker soup)
4 cups vegetable stock (We used 2 cans vegetable broth - 14 oz. each - and added a little water to make 4 cups.)
1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
4 cups chopped fresh spinach (or a little more wouldn't hurt)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Optional: Greek Yogurt or fresh lime to add at the table
I used a 5-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe, but it could have been a little smaller.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat until it's starting to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the minced garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, Garam Masala, and ground cinnamon and cook 1-2 minutes more. Put the spiced onion mixture into the slow cooker.
Pick over the lentils and remove any discolored ones. Put lentils in a colander and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Add lentils and vegetable stock to the slow cooker and cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for about 4 hours. (The lentils should be softened and starting to fall apart when you add the other ingredients.)
Turn slow cooker to low and add the chopped spinach and can of coconut milk. Cook about 30 minutes more, or until lentils and spinach are done to your liking. Season with a generous amount of salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste) and serve hot. with Greek Yogurt or sliced lime to add at the table if desired.
South Beach Suggestions:
All types of low-glycemic lentils and split peas are approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet, but serving size is limited. In a soup recipe like this with lots of other ingredients you can eat a moderate size serving for Phase One.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Delicious Soups with Red Lentils:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Sumac ~ eCurry
Crockpot (or Stovetop) Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Ethiopian-Inspired Red Lentil Soup ~ Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkish Red Lentil Soup ~ Mostly Foodstuffs
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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