That’s how this recipe came into being. My BP (business partner) and I created this soup recipe as a joint venture. Pretty funny since our usual jobs are managing a custom invitation printing company. But Red Lentil with Indian Spice soup was so near and dear to our hearts after eating it and loving it for so long at Organic Energy, we had to try creating an oil-free, low salt version for ourselves (more on salt after the recipe).
My husband pronounced, “it’s the soup of the year!” It really is that good. Just don’t make it when you are in a time crunch.
2 cups red or orange lentils
salt (I added 1 tsp more for the whole pot) or salt free seasoning
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Place lentils in a metal sieve and rinse well with cold water.
Fill a medium sauce pan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Score the peel of the base of the tomatoes with a sharp knife in the shape of an “X.” Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain the tomatoes and run them under cold water. Once cool, peel and finely chop the tomatoes, discarding the tough stem ends.
In the same medium sauce pan that you used for the tomatoes, place lentils and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Turn off heat when lentils are finished and put to the side. Do not drain lentils or discard the cooking liquid, you will need this later!
Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. When pot is hot, add the seed mix and jiggle the pot around. You want to toast the seeds but be careful not to burn them. They are ready when they look toasty and you smell something wonderful. At the sign of any burning, lower the heat immediately. When seeds are toasty, add onion and 3 Tbsp vegetable broth. Stir frequently and “sauté” onion for 5 minutes.
Add garlic/salt paste and 3 more Tbsp vegetable broth. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently and lowering the heat if the onion/garlic/spices start to burn. Add turmeric, bay leaves, almond milk, coconut extract and peeled chopped tomatoes. Stir. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Chop partially defrosted cauliflower and add to pot. Add lentils and their cooking liquid and lime juice and simmer for 20 minutes.
Optional: Partially puree soup with an immersion blender. Season with Cayenne pepper and/or salt or salt free seasoning to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
That’s a decent amount of sodium. But by no means does our version even begin to taste “salty.” We talked about how much better it would taste with more salt and either real coconut milk or oil, but neither one of us is willing to go there anymore!
The point is, that even a soup with 650 mg of added sodium per serving does NOT taste salty to us. And even more importantly, I thought I was creating a low sodium soup by only having 2 tsp of salt in the entire big pot of soup. I now know that 2 tsp of salt is 4600 mg of sodium, which calculated out to a whopping 650 mg/serving.
So how much sodium is in foods that DO taste salty to our palate? A whole crap load, I’m sure of it now.
What are your thoughts/experiences with salt? Are you struggling with this? Do you add it to recipes anymore or have you eliminated it from your home cooked food?
What is the best salt-free seasoning? I’m now considering purchasing a whole truckload of it!