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I had some red lentils left over from the soup I made a few days ago. I thought I might as well throw those in a pot and get creative. I didn’t feel like going vegetarian this time, so I added some ground turkey, but you could leave that out of the recipe. This turned out to be a very savory, hearty and delicious dinner for my family. They really enjoyed it! This recipe could easily be adapted to make it vegan friendly.

As I frequently do, I thought I would sneak some vegetables into the soup. This kept it to a one pot meal, so all I had to do was serve the soup and folks could grab a slice of the bread I made to go with it. I happened to have sweet potatoes on hand, so I diced a couple of these up and added them to the soup. After cooking with the lentils for quite a while, these sweet potatoes melted like butter in your mouth when eating the soup. Yumm!!!

Now I got creative with the spices in this version. You might not have some of the spices I used in your pantry, but that’s OK. As I always say, play with your food! Give your spices a smell and taste a little and see if you think it would add an interesting dimension to your dish. You might discover a new flavor profile that you love!

Turkey & Red Lentil Soup

1 ½ cups red lentils

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 tsp cumin

¼ tsp saffron

¼ tsp cardamom

½ tsp ginger

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced or 1 tbsp canned, diced jalapeno

4 fresh basil leave, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, pressed or diced

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 red onion, diced

1 pound ground turkey

Salt and pepper to taste

I chose to cook mine in my Dutch oven on the stove top, but you could also put this in a slow cooker, but if you’re doing this you’ll want to cook it on low for 6-8 hours. Using the Dutch oven, my cook time was about 2 hours total.

Put lentils and broth in pot and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Add next 9 ingredients (sweet potatoes, beans and spices) to lentil pot. In a frying pan, cook ground turkey and onions. Cook until turkey is browned and onions are soft and translucent. Add turkey and onions to soup pot. Continue to simmer. For the last 30 minutes, tilt the lid to allow some of the liquid to cook off. You may need to increase the heat a bit to maintain a simmer. You want to allow your lentils about 2 hours total cook time. Salt and pepper your soup to taste.