SERVES 2 TO 4
1 small onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus extra as needed
1¼ cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
2 tablespoons harissa
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Small red lentils are one of our favorite legumes; they break down quickly into a creamy, thick puree when cooked—perfect for a satisfying soup. Their mild flavor does require a bit of embellishment, so we quickly bloomed coriander, cumin, and ginger along with olive oil, tomato paste, and a chopped onion before adding them to the blender with broth and the lentils. A generous dose of lemon juice at the end brought the flavors into focus and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro completed the transformation of commonplace ingredients into an exotic yet comforting soup. Do not substitute other varieties of lentils for the red lentils here; red lentils produce a very different texture. Harissa is a traditional North African condiment that is great for serving with a variety of soups, salads, and proteins. You can find harissa in the international aisle of most well-stocked supermarkets; if not, extra-virgin olive oil will work well.
1. Microwave onion, oil, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to Ace blender along with broth and lentils. Lock lid in place, then select soup program 1 (for chunky soups).
2. Once program has completed, carefully remove lid and adjust consistency with extra broth as needed. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Drizzle individual portions with harissa and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
SERVES 2 TO 4