This Red Lentil Soup with Leek, Fennel and Celery Heart uses simple ingredients to create an elegant result. Aside from being delicious, this soup is incredibly healing and nourishing for the body, which is why it has earned a top spot among my all-time favorites. I love this soup is because it highlights several underutilized ingredients that are bursting with flavor and nutrition.
Fennel is crunchy, slightly sweet and a refreshing addition to this soup. It is one of those vegetables that many people have never tried simply because they do not know what it is or how to use it. The use of fennel in this soup imparts a slight anise flavor.
To prepare the fennel, cut away any stalks that are attached to the bulb of your fennel. Then, trim a bit off the bottom of the bulb. Cut straight down through the root of the bulb and repeat to cut the halves into quarters. If the outer layer of your bulb feels wilted or rubbery, peel it away and discard. With the quarter still on its side, slice crosswise to cut the fennel into slices. Start at the top of the bulb and work toward the root.
Sometimes dirt and debris get caught inside the many layers and leaves of a leek. However, there is a simple solution to getting all that dirt out. All you need is a sharp knife, a bowl of water and a colander. First, thinly slice the white and light green part into rings and discard the root end (the dark green part can be discarded too or saved for stock). Then submerge the sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water. Give them a gentle stir or shake to remove any soil or grit between the layers. Allow the leeks to sit in the water for a few minutes. Then scoop them into a colander or a slotted spoon. Now you have clean, sliced leeks that are ready to be used.
The pale, inner stalks of celery are called the celery heart. They taste like celery but there’s no intense crunchiness or stringiness to battle. Celery heart can be prepared by peeling away the outer stalks, trimming a bit off the bottom of the celery heart, and cutting the heart into small pieces.
This recipe was adapted from Mind Body Green.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- Inner leaves of 1 fennel bulb, cut into small pieces
- 1 celery heart (inner stalks), cut into small pieces
- 4 cups broth or water
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Sea salt and pepper, as desired
- Fresh cilantro, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leek, fennel and celery and sauté until soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the broth or water and lentils, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir to combine, then remove the pot from the heat.
- To serve, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and pepper and garnish with fresh cilantro.