I bet many of my readers will consider clicking away from the blog right now, because… lentils? Not the most popular item in the pantry. Radicchio? Not the veggie that jumps into the grocery cart of most shoppers. Both together? Thanks, but no thanks. Can I ask you to trust me on this? Actually it’s not even me you should trust, but someone with a lot more gastronomic fame: Melissa Clark. And credit should actually go to my beloved husband who not only found the recipe but made it for our dinner. So basically I am  giving to charity from other people’s wallets. But hey, I am the resident blogger. So there!

(adapted from Melissa Clark)

for topping:
half a radicchio head, thinly sliced
drizzle of olive oil
lemon juice to taste
1 avocado, diced very small
salt and pepper to taste
for soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup green lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Make topping and reserve in fridge by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Make the soup: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.  Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot.  

Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup and add a generous amount of radicchio slaw on top.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This soup was excellent served with a mixed olive sourdough (recipe published not too long ago in the blog, click here if you’ve missed it). I find it a bit hard to decide if the topping made the soup or if it would shine as brightly on its own. A perfect combination. We had leftover radicchio slaw, and found ourselves munching on small amounts once our bowls of soup were appropriately empty. Next day we improvised a full salad with the other half of the radicchio head, adding a bunch of goodies we had in the fridge.

We mixed radicchio, tomatoes, olives, and avocados together. Dressing was kept simple again, olive oil and lemon juice, right before serving we added a tiny touch of white balsamic vinegar. OMG this was good. Later on we decided that capers would have been perfect, and of course some feta cheese or other sharp cheese of your choice.

Simple dinner… Red snapper, a little rice and this tasty salad… 

The secret with radicchio is to allow it to sit with the dressing for a little while, or warm it up very very briefly to soften the leaves. But that is another method that I intend to share in the near future. The great thing about this preparation is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 24 hours. My lunch next day was this salad with a fried egg, sunny side up. I was a happy camper.

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  1. What do you mean ‘click off;, Sally ? I live on lentils and dive for radicchio every time I see it in the supermarket: ours seem sometimes to be out of it. Heavens . . . both are pure delight and your soup is different and is already down for friends next weekend ! Love the ingredients and the method and the topping and the resulting oh so appetizing looks! The salad combo is nice too . . . but thank you very much for something somewhat new into my kitchen . . . !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you will stick around! I kind of suspected you would… yes, try it with the topping, it is so unusual to go from the regular crackers or swirl of sour cream/yogurt to a slaw. It does add a lot, we were absolutely in love with this soup

      Liked by 1 person

  2. No clicking off here as we love lentils. As for radicchio, it’s often found on the BBQ or on a salad. But, I’ve not tried the radicchio and avocado topping on a bowl of lentil soup. Sounds great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh, those are really nice lentils… when I find a bag in our grocery store (rare event) I pretty much pounce on it…. although, of course, amazon has it all. The evil empire of shopping. I feel bad sometimes, as I know they drive local business into bankruptcy, but i tell you, living in a small town, it’s hard to not shop there

      Liked by 1 person

  3. some of us weirdos actually like lentils and bitters! (have you come across Jennifer McLagan’s book Bitter? fascinating exploration of the underappreciated taste of bitterness in North American cuisine through the lens of science, culture and history…anyhoot, the book is a bit of a masterpiece) — this is such an intriguing pairing, love this recipe idea Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ll have to work a lot harder to scare off your followers! We all like this stuff. Grilling season is just around the corner and that other half head of radicchio with olive oil s&p cut side down on the grate is calling!


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