Red Lentil Soup with Cashews

The weather on my Nana’s birthday was pretty dismal in my part of the world.  If there’s one thing I hate more than cold, rainy weather, it’s warm, rainy weather.

That treasured sunlight which brings me such joy has gone away, and in its stead is an oppressive humidity that clings to every corner of the apartment, even if it’s not all that hot.  There’s nothing worse than breaking out in a sweat while doing some light vacuuming.  It’s pretty gross.

Yet somehow, I still crave warm comfort foods when the sun is hidden.  In Taiwan, I inhaled steamed buns like oxygen, desperate for a glimmer of sunlight during monsoon season.  Back in the US, I resort to other options, which sometimes means soup.

And this soup happens to be one of my favorites.  It’s also the only soup I’ve gotten Luke to eat that contains *gasp* lentils.  And carrots.  The boy hates carrots.

But this soup is great.  It’s incredibly easy to make, and freezes well so you can keep it on hand.  Oh yeah, and there are cashews.  Cashews in soup you ask?  Yes, and it’s delicious.  I’ve started adding cashews randomly to other soups, hoping it’ll be as good as this one, but it’s not quite the same.  The cashews cook in the soup for the last 15 minutes of simmering, and imbue the soup with a little of their flavor.  They also soften a bit, and provide a great contrast in texture, taking this soup to another level of awesome.

Red Lentil Soup with Cashews

Adapted from The Parsley Thief

Makes 8 servings

3 Tbsp canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tsp garam marsala
2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
two 14.5 oz cans petite-diced tomatoes
1 pound dried red lentils, picked over & rinsed
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 medium carrot, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 cups roasted cashews

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions, a generous pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garam marsala and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.
Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and their juices, lentils, celery, carrots, garlic, cayenne, salt and water. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the cashews and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Check the soup for seasonings and add additional salt if needed. The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and frozen for up to two months.


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