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You know you’re living way up north when at the tail end of November the sun starts setting in the 2’s. You know you’re a food blogger living way up north when, after a stretch of grey and dreary days, sunlight suddenly floods your kitchen and you drop everything to take pictures of soup. The ever shrinking window of daylight is pretty narrow these days, and you’ve got to take advantage while you can. Normally I’d avoid taking pictures of food in direct sunlight, but I like the way these turned out; warm and shadowy.

In the cooler weather a big pot of soup has become a weekly fixture in our home. This spicy red lentil soup makes frequent appearances. The list of ingredients is simple and comprised of things I often have on hand in the cupboards. The soup comes together quickly and doesn’t require much fussing over, other than a bit of a stir now and then. Lentils and brown rice make a complete protein, which makes this soup a one-pot stick-to-yer-ribs kind of a meal.  Leftovers reheat well. Nuff said.

One year ago: Poached Eggs on Crispy Polenta

Spicy Red Lentil Soup Recipe:

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks 

It is important that you use split red lentils here and don’t substitute a different type of lentil that holds together – the lentils blowing apart as the soup cooks is key to the texture. If spicy soup isn’t your thing you can be conservative with the red pepper flakes, or leave them out all together. Serve with a scoop of creamy Greek yoghurt and some chopped salty black olives.


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 1/3 cups split lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

8 cups vegetable broth or water

salt to taste


Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and cook for another few minutes until the onions begin to get a nice deep brown colour. Now add the lentils, rice, and the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have blown apart and the rice is cooked. Taste and season with salt if needed. If you prefer a thinner soup (bear in mind the soup will thicken slightly as it cools) you can add more vegetable broth or water at this point. Serve  bowls of hot soup with a spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped salty black olives.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011