Spiced Puréed Tomatoes and Red Lentil Soup with Spiced Croutons

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
6 to 8 servings

This soup has a great depth of flavor with onion, carrot, celery, lentils all spiced with garlic, cumin, coriander and ancho chili powder.


2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1 tbsp. minced garlic
21⁄2 tsp. ground toasted cumin
1 tbsp. + 1⁄2 tsp. ground toasted coriander
1⁄2 tsp. ground ancho chili pepper
1 lb. fresh plum tomatoes, seeded, diced
2 cups red lentils
2 qt. water
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
11⁄2 tsp. toasted, crushed sesame seeds
1⁄2 tsp. dried, crushed thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch ground black pepper
8 slices day-old French bread, cubed
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup plain yogurt 


1. In large pot, melt butter. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. coriander and ancho chili pepper and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook just until softened, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and water and season with salt.

2. Simmer over moderately low heat until lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes. Purée soup and season with salt.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Combine remaining cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, thyme, cayenne, black pepper and pinch of salt. Toss with bread and olive oil. Place bread in single layer on baking pan and cook until dried, about 10 minutes. Place croutons into each soup bowl and pour soup to cover. Garnish with yogurt.  

Recipe by Compass Group, Palo Alto, Calif.

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