This black and red lentil beer soup is quick to make, high-in-protein, plant-based, and tasty as all get out—an easy home-cooked meal for this busy time of year. This recipe first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today, where I’m a contributor.
I’ve been making this hearty vegetarian soup, with variations here and there, since I was old enough to drink beer. (Not that that would have stopped me from pouring beer in my soup.) Around that same time I bought my first pressure cooker, so I’m pretty sure I’ve always used a pressure cooker for lentil beer soup.
At the top of a tattered yellowed page in one of my old recipe journals, I scribbled Lentil Wunderbar Soup. In those days I didn’t think to note where a recipe came from—so if you have a clue, please write. What I do know is wunderbar in German means wonderful, marvelous.
Back in the day, there were only regular brown lentils that cook into soft mushy rustic soup; now we can easily find a variety of lens-shaped beans. In this black and red lentil beer soup, the black lentils stay chewy and yet soft, while the red lentils melt and disappear into the broth.
Flavor-wise, a spoonful of vinegar balances the red lentil and carrot sweetness, for classic German sweet and sour punch. Beer, like it does with people, adds character and other flavorful features. Wunderbar!
Black and Red Lentil Beer Soup notes:
- To increase awareness of the highly nutritious lentils and their bean cousins, the United Nations declared 2016 the Year of the Pulse. At the first of the year, I pledged to showcase a pulse every month. January, February, March, April, June, October, check, got ‘em–the other 5 months, nary a pulse. Just in time to celebrate winter solstice, a perfect excuse for warming soup, I give you December’s black and red lentil beer soup!
- Use whatever beer you have in the fridge. This time I choose a nutty malty brown ale, but I’ve used lighter beers before, even PBR. We’re looking to add caramel malty notes so if you don’t drink beer, substitute a non-alcohol beer, like O’Douls.
Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something festive!
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Quick to make, high-in-protein, plant-based, and tasty as all get out, black and red lentil beer soup is an easy home-cooked meal for the busy time of life.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 carrots, diced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup black lentils
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (12-ounce) beer, your choice (see note)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. (see note for regular cooking.) Stir in the onions and carrots and sauté for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth, black and red lentils, potato, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and about 20 grinds of pepper.
- Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure 7 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the beer and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if you think it’s needed.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
- If you don’t drink alcohol, substitute a N.A. beer, like O’Douls. Otherwise choose the beer you have on hand.
- For regular stovetop cooking, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until the red lentils get soft and mushy.