Lentil Soup with Cumin

This is the fastest bean soup you can make, ready in about an hour, without any soaking of beans. It gets better as it sits overnight, when the flavors marry, so make enough for two or more meals.


  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 potato, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan for 1 minute, until fragrant
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  1. Chop carrot, celery, onion, and potato into bite-size pieces; cut garlic into very small slices.

  2. Heat the oil over medium flame in a pot large enough to hold everything, and add the cut vegetables, garlic, and cumin, plus 2 teaspoons of salt.

  3. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce flame to medium-low.

  4. Simmer 1 hour, season with salt and pepper; serve with a dollop of Tofu Sour Cream if desired.

Soaking Beans — What It Means

Some chefs submerge beans in water overnight before cooking them. The beans swell with water and cook in much less time. I find that soaked beans tend to break up more than unsoaked ones, so I usually cook my beans from a dry state, unless using someone else's recipe.

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