Red Lentil Soup with Sun-Dried Tomato Arugula Pesto

This is a very comforting soup with tuns of flavor and packed full of nutrition.

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I use to make this soup at my restaurant with some fresh french baguette from a local baker and it was always a big hit.  I love a good red lentil soup any time of the year, it’s hearty and satisfying.  I also love the texture and all the different ways you can make it.  This soup is great as is or purred, served on its own or with some bread and maybe a salad.

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It pairs well with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or a light Pinot Noir

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Recipe: Serves 6 – 8 Servings

  • 2 Cups Red Lentils
  • 8 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Cup Sun-Dried Tomato Arugula Pesto
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons + 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • A variation – add 2 diced tomatoes

Instructions:

In a soup pot add red lentils, rinse thoroughly and strain then add back to the pot and add the water to the pot, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium for 20 – 30 minutes, scoop off the starchy foam.

While the lentils are cooking make the pesto  (I often make this the day before) make sure to puree really well.  When the lentils are done, mix in the pesto and turn to low or set pesto aside until lentils are are done.

Add the onions and garlic to a saute pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium-low heat.  Saute until onions are really soft and the garlic is beginning to become golden.

Add the wine and bullion cube. Smash the bullion well and saute until syrupy then add to lentils along with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.

Add tomatoes if using.

Health Benefits: 

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health.  They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K.  They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth.

Zesty Red Lentil Tomato Soup

 The combination of red lentils and marinara is down right comforting, it literally soothes my soul!  Mix in some veggies and it’s a healthy delicious soup.

Zesty-Red-Lentil-Tomato-Soup

This is one of my all time favorite soups and a staples I make quite often.  Many years ago my cousin made me a soup very similar to this one, it was so good I had to recreate.  It is the perfect winter soup. It’s filling and satisfying all by itself or it with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich.

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It goes great with a dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a light red like a Pinot Noir.

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Recipe – 8 – 12 servings

Sauce

  • 1/2 White Onion (lighter sauce) or Red Onion (richer sauce)
  • 2 to 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Dry White (lighter sauce) or Red Wine (richer sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 1 Jar of Eden Organic Crushed Tomato Sauce for a rich sauce or Bionaturae for a lighter sauce.  Or a can of BPA free Muir Glen.
  • 1/2 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt

Lentils and veggies

  • 3 Cups Red Lentils
  • 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Small Potatoes – 1/2 inch diced
  • 3 Large Carrots – sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh  or Frozen Corn
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – whole
  • 2 Unsalted Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spices

  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt or to Taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste (Optional)
  • Optional Garnishes – crushed red peppers, micro sprouts, fresh oregano, chili oil (olive oil & paprika)

* This soup is really good without the vegetables as well.  For extra tomato flavor double the marinara sauce.

Instructions:

Marinara sauce

Dice the onion and mince the garlic then put in straight sided pan with 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Saute on medium-high heat untill soft and slightly golden. About 5-7 minutes.

Add oregano, dry white or red wine and saute until wine reduces.

Add the tomato sauce and pour filtered water into the jar then shake to get all the remaining sauce from jar, pour in and stir.

Let simmer for 1/2 hour on medium-low heat.

Add 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and simmer for another 1/2 hour.

Lentils and veggies

While the marinara is simmering add lentils to a 5 1/2 quart soup pot, rinse thoroughly and strain.

Add the water to the lentils, potatoes, whole cloves of garlic and the bullion cubes then bring to a boil on medium-low heat.  Cook for about 20 – 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  As the starchy foam surfaces, scoop it off.

While lentils are cooking, in a medium pot add water and then a steam basket, steam carrots on high until soft and add to lentils when potatoes are soft.

After the lentils and potatoes are cooked add the marinara, corn, olive oil, salt and spices.

 Simmer on low for 20 more minutes.

It is best after a few hours or the next day.

Zesty-Tomato-Red-Lentil-Soup

Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

Tomatoes are great for the heart due to the extreme antioxidant support, niacin, folate and vitamin B6 that help the reduction of heart disease.  They are also high in vitamins A, C, K and potassium.  The choline in tomatoes helps assist the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.  It also helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.  Tomatoes are high in Lycopene the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color.  Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell walls, which helps to release the lycopene and is better absorbed by the body with a little bit of fat like olive oil.  The Zea-xanthin in them helps filtering harmful ultra-violet rays, which protect eyes from “age-related macular disease.”  They are also a powerful blood purifier and great for skin and bone health.