Cilantro and Orange Scented Red Lentil Soup

January 19th, 2011 by Erin Gennow
Cilantro and Orange Scented Red Lentil Soup

Cilantro and Orange Scented Red Lentil Soup

Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper

While flipping through The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper, this soup caught my attention because it’s a twist on how I usually think to prepare lentils.  Maybe it’s because I only find brown lentils from my local grocery store chain, which doesn’t always offer up much inspiration for more exotic flavors, I end up making the same lentil soup all the time.  The flavor of this soup is light and refreshing.  I doubled the recipe, except for the liquid in order to make the soup thicker, which I prefer.

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 4 main course servings


1 medium bunch fresh cilantro

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 medium onions, small dice

4 large garlic cloves, minced

½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

2 ½ cups water

1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted

1 medium orange, zest and juice

1 lemon, zest and juice

½ cup additional fresh orange juice, optional

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Cut off the bottom 2 to 3 inches of the cilantro stems.  Chop them fine and set aside.  Chop the cilantro leaves and set aside.

Ingredients for Soup

Ingredients for Soup

Coat the bottom of a 4 or 5 quart saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and set over high heat.  Add 2/3 of the chopped onions.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Sauté the onions over medium heat until they begin to brown and soften.  Add the chopped cilantro stems, 4 minced garlic cloves, ½ inch piece minced ginger, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, the orange zest, and the lemon zest.  Sauté for another 30 to 60 seconds.  Spoon out into a bowl and set aside.

Sauteed Onions, Cilantro Stems, and Spices

Sauteed Onions, Cilantro Stems, and Spices

Red Lentils

Red Lentils

Add the 2 cups vegetable broth, 2 ½ cups water, 1 ½ cups rinsed red lentils, and the remaining 1/3 cup of chopped onions to the same saucepan.  Bring the lentils to a gentle boil; reduce to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils or almost tender.

Add in the previously sautéed seasonings and season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Simmer the soup for another 15 minutes.

Just before serving stir in the juice of half a lemon, the juice of the orange, and additional orange juice if desired.

Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro leaves.


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