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Article posted: 1/29/2014 5:30 AM

Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro Pesto and Lemon

Cilantro pesto and lemon perk up red lentil soup, which, oddly enough, isn’t red at all.

Cilantro pesto and lemon perk up red lentil soup, which, oddly enough, isn't red at all.


Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large onion, chopped


2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of ground cayenne powder

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 cup red lentils

Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden. Stir in cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add broth, water and lentils; bring to a simmer. Partially cover pot, turn heat to medium-low and cook until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Transfer half the soup to a large bowl and purée with an immersion blender. Alternately, purée soup in a blender or food processor. Add puréed soup back to the pot.

Purée the cilantro with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir pesto into the soup. Adjust the seasonings.

Serves four.

Adapted from "Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express" (Simon & Schuster, 2009)

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