Curried Lentil and Chickpea Soup

I gave my blog a summer face lift. It's so hot outside, I wanted to look at nice, cool colors. The icy blue was actually inspired by some of Nigella Lawson's cooking shows. She is definitely one of my favorite celebrity chefs and I've been watching several of her programs on youtube lately. She has lovely icy blue measuring cups, which were the source of my color inspiration.

Onto tonight's dinner: my pantry saved me again by providing lentils and chickpeas. I wasn't intending to cook this in the crockpot initially, but it's so hot out I just didn't want to heat a burner up (although eating soup when it's blazingly hot out may make the who thing a wash anyway...). I wanted to make this soup reminiscent of the lentil soups that started many of my meals at my favorite Indian restaurants back where I did my undergrad. Those soups had a thing lentil broth with a light curry flavor. I added chickpeas for texture and to add heartiness. All the ingredients are thrown into the crockpot, except some garam masala, which is added at the end to add a second layer of spice. The garlic hits you first when you bite into the soup, and because of the garam masala, there is a nice anise flavor at the end of each bite. Chole masala would work equally well in this. Also, because the chickpeas are cooked and the lentils cook so quickly, this could be made on the stove top. Saute off the onions and garlic in a soup pot, then pour in the rest of the ingredients and finish with the garam masala, just like the original recipe. Leftovers will thicken as they sit in the fridge, so add a little water to the soup before reheating, or serve some of the soup with rice for more of a curry-type dish than a soup.

Curried Lentil and Chickpea Soup

1 cup light green lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp curry powder
generous pinch cinnamon
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala or chole masala
chopped cilantro or parsley and fresh lemon juice to garnish (optional)

1. Add the lentils to a colander and rinse them and pick through for any stones.
2. Add the lentils and all the ingredients through the salt and pepper, to taste, to the crockpot. Cook on high 6-8 hours or low 8-10 hours or until the lentils are soft.
3. Add the garam masala before serving. Also, mash some of the chickpeas and lentils with a spoon to thicken the soup. Serve, garnished with some chopped cilantro or parsley and a spritz of fresh lemon juice.

Servings per recipe: 6
Per serving:
Calories: 407
Fat: 5.8 g
Saturated fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 530 mg
Carbohydrates: 64.9 g
Fiber: 22.6 g
Protein: 25.6 g

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