Oh, lentils, how I love thee! Tasty, quick-cooking, versatile and supremely healthy, lentils are the perfect food for a cold January evening. They are a great source of fiber, which can lower cholesterol, and are high in protein. Lentils are rich in essential vitamins, stabilize blood sugar and are good for your heart. And there are only 230 calories per cup! This flavorful soup helps them shine, while bitter arugula balances the smokiness.
1 ½ cup lentils
3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2+ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound baby arugula leaves
3 cups vegetable broth or water
2 dried ancho chiles
Put lentils and water in a large soup pot. Bring to boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes (depending on lentils), or until soft. Once cooked, add arugula, whole dried ancho chile peppers, and broth/water to lentils. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan, then toss in the cumin and paprika. Sauté spices at medium heat until fragrant but not burned, approximately 30 seconds. Add onions and garlic; stir until coated with spices. Sauté aromatics until translucent. Afterward, mix in the tomatoes and sauté until heated through and bubbling.
Remove ancho chiles from soup pot. Remove tops from chiles and chop the rest into small bits. Add back to soup. Stir in the tomato mixture and add salt and pepper to taste, plus more smoked paprika if you deem it necessary (I had to up it a bit last night, although it would have been fine as is). Enjoy!