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Spices for vegetarian lentil soup?

I just made a vegetarian lentil soup and the taste is sorta blah. I used onions, carrots, a potato, a parsnip, garlic, water and green lentils. For spices I used salt, pepper, a bay leaf and cumin, I sweated the onions and garlic in olive oil to start and added the spices before adding other indigents and water.And then simmered for two hours. What additional spices would you suggest? I don't like to add too much salt or red pepper.

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  1. Chipotle powder/chile powder would add a bit of a kick

    I like raw al hanout (a Moroccan spice blend, not hot but flavorful) with lentils. Sometimes a squeeze of citrus or splash of vinegar wakes up a blah soup.

    1. Adding a sprinkle of salt when you sweat the onions and garlic helps to soften and flavor them. But I think you lack some umami elements. Often this means meat, but other possibilities include mushrooms, tomato paste, soy sauce, fish sauce or miso.

      1. A few drops of balsamic vinegar make a huge difference.

        And I use olive oil as a finishing oil, it adds oomph : )

        1 Reply
        1. re: happybaker

          I like the Cooks Illustrated lentil soup recipe. It uses cumin, coriander and a TLB of balsamic vinegar.

          I also have hot sauce available on the table.

        2. I would add in some tomato paste and some cayenne. If you use chicken broth, add some in for flavor. Maybe more salt and cumin too - lentils tend to take a lot of salt.

          1. Not spices per se but instead of just cooking your veggies try roasting them, and roast some garlic while you're at it. And instead of just sautéing your onions use caramelized onions.