Meat Free Mondays – Red Lentil and Black Bean Soup

I may not have mentioned this before, but I’m a runner.

I started running in college and have been running on and off for the past 25 years, averaging about 12-15 miles per week. I run in a few races per year, maxing out at 10Ks. My speed would best be described as pokey.

I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, or even a half marathon, but my body nowadays just won’t hold up to the necessary training.

Like most people, as I age I am more prone to injuries. At least a couple times per year, my knees and ankles keep me off the trail or treadmill. I subscribe to and read Runner’s World magazine for articles and tips on how to avoid and treat these injuries.

I also like to read about the best new running shoes, and inspirational stories about other runners. I don’t read Runner’s World for its recipes.

But something about this recipe that I found in this month’s edition of the magazine caught my eye. It looked fast, simple and delicious. Plus I already had all its ingredients lying around: Bonus!

It turned out every bit as good as I hoped it would. It was neither light nor heavy. The red lentils absorbed most of the liquid, but they weren’t starchy, the way barley can get. And the flavor balance between the sweetness of the onions and the spiciness of the chili powder and cumin was perfect.

It was ideal for a chilly late autumn dinner.

Sometimes great ideas can come from unlikely sources.

Red Lentil and Black Bean Soup


1 white onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

2 15-oz cans vegetable broth

1 TBS tomato paste

1 cup dry red lentils

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1 lime

Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Put soup pot on fire. When hot, add EVOO. When smoking, add onions and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and paprika and saute another minute. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the vegetable stock and bring up to a boil.

2. Add lentils and return to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in black beans and lime juice and cook another five minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Fold in cilantro just before serving.

Have you ever gotten a fabulous recipe from an unlikely source? Share your story in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!


15 thoughts on “Meat Free Mondays – Red Lentil and Black Bean Soup

  1. Sadly, my wife hates lentils, and all beans too. I’m still surprised she’ll eat barley when i add it to soup…

    Most of my really odd recipes are concoctions that spring, unbidden, from the depths of my mind – “Hey what would happen if we put these together?!?

    • That sounds interesting. What were some of your most innovative combinations?

      Btw: That post about the comment thread on one of your earlier posts was brilliant! When I originally read some of those replies, I was reluctant to jump in the middle of it. But it made a seriously funny blog — AV Club-worthy.

      • One was searing chicken legs and thighs with cumin, then putting them in a large pot with peeled tomatoes and a variety of vegetables (carrots, mushroom, water chestnuts, etc). That came out well, and is one of our winter staples now, with rice.

        You’re always welcome to jump into the mayhem on my site. Highbrow or lowbrow, there’s room for it all!

  2. I take a peek at Runner’s World when I get to the library and will now remember to also check out the recipes! I am a pokey vegetarian 1/2 marathoner and I think it sounds delish! I am excited to try it out soon.

  3. Oh, that looks lovely! And the beans and lentils make it very slow-burning carb content, so very healthy as well! Have to try it … don’t have black beans, but I think I have those cutely marbled pinto beans in the cupboard!

    • And, like all soups, it tasted even better the second day. I used to work in a restaurant where they featured “Day Old Soup” on the menu just for that reason. And it was an upscale restaurant!

  4. My trick for lentils is this: put a little bit of cinnamon in them when you cook them. It can be a small amt that you can’t even actually taste when they’re done but it cuts that muddy aspect of the lentils. Try it.

  5. Say Danny – would you like to run a marathon in May? Would you consider running either Eugene, OR or Avenue of the Giants in the redwoods? With your current mileage you have planty of time to train. Whaddaya say?

  6. My plan for this year was as follows:
    Jan-Mar: Increase mileage and endurance in preparation for 8K and 10K races I had scheduled in Spring.
    Mar-Jun: Prepare for half marathon in July.
    July-Oct: Prepare for Chicago marathon in October.
    Oct-Dec: Weight train and cross train to build strength for 2012.
    Instead, I blew out my left knee doing intervals on the treadmill at the gym two days after the 10K. Should have rested, I know. It is only just now starting to be relatively pain free most of the time.
    I would love to shoot for a marathon in Spring 2012, but realistically, I don’t think my body would put up with the training, especially my knee. (That reminds me, I need to see Brian French for some new orthotics).
    My question is: How do you run so many distance runs and marathons? Don’t your knees hurt all the time? We come from the same gene pool, so I know they must!

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