Here is a light lentil soup made Southwestern rather than Middle Eastern by the
addition of green chiles and lime juice. It can be served in summer as well as winter
and is eminently easy to fix.
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
6 cups water, and additional water as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, thyme, or oregano
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup canned chopped mild green chiles
1 bell pepper, deveined, seeded and
cut into chunks
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup lime juice,
2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the first 7 ingredients into a 3-quart pot and bring to a boil over
medium heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface, cover the pot, and
boil gently until lentils are thoroughly soft - this takes anywhere from 30
to 60 minutes.
Place the green chiles and 1 cup of the soup into a food processor and process
continuously until pureed. Return mixture to the soup in the pot.
Wipe the processor bowl with a paper towel or rinse lightly, then finely
chop first the bell pepper and then the carrot in it, using repeated pulses
of the motor and stopping at least once to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
Add the bell pepper and then the carrot to the soup. From this point, the soup
can be held off heat until serving time, or you can proceed directly to the
When you are ready to serve, bring the soup back to a boil (but do not cook
at this temperature for more than a minute since you want the bell pepper and
carrot to remain crisp), taste for seasoning and add more water to adjust the
texture - the soup should be thick enough to coat a spoon but not porridgy.
Stir in the lime juice and olive oil, warm through for a few seconds more and