Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 L of water, veggie, or chicken stock
2 cups red lentils, picked through for stones and debris
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chile pepper, or to taste salt, to taste
extra virgin olive oil, chile flakes, and cilantro leaves for garnish


On medium heat, melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Sautee the chopped onions for a few minutes, until soft, then add chopped garlic and cumin and sautee a few minutes more. Add the tomato paste, mix well, and cook with the onions/garlic for a few minutes. Add the water, lentils, and carrots, and increase the heat to bring to a simmer.

Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover pot, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until carrots and lentils are cooked. Add cilantro and use an immersion blender to blend the soup a little bit, leaving some of it chunky, or blend half of it in a regular blender. Season with lemon juice, salt, and ancho chiles, to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves, chile flakes, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.