The chefs at Eastern Market are sharing their knowledge of healthy cooking with fresh, often locally-sourced ingredients. Each week, they’ll be sharing a different tried-and-true recipe that you can make at home; with the peace of mind that it contains balanced nutrition for you, and your family. 

This week’s recipe is: Simple Crushed Red Lentil Soup

Recipe by Eastern Market Head Chef Aaron Egan


  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 cup white rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 quart water (or stock)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemons to garnish

In a large, heavy saucepan or pot over medium-high, heat the olive oil; add the onions and garlic, and cook until fragrant and soft. Add the cumin, and cook 2-3 minutes further.

Put the rice, lentils, and water into the pot; add the bay leaf.

Bring to a boil, stir well, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are both very soft.

Puree in a food processor, blender, using a hand blender, or by running the soup through a food mill. Each method will yield a slightly different soup texture.

Return to the pot and cook further to reduce the soup and add thickness; add liquid if it’s too thick. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a grind of black pepper over the top.

Note: Many additional vegetables can be added to the base of this soup before blending; cooked carrots, celery, and other aromatic or flavorful vegetables into the base for a more complex and more nutritious soup.

Stay tuned for next week’s recipe!