I have a confession to make. And it’s serious. Are you ready?
I am utterly, completely, almost embarrassingly addicted to coconut. It’s kind of a problem. Lately it seems like I have trouble getting through the week without a few post-yoga waters, some milk by way of a veggie curry and maybe even a bit of the shredded and dried variety mixed into my oatmeal. And my latest travels have only fed the fury!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing one of my dearest friends, Mason, get Maui’d. Or for those of you not big on abbreviations, get married on Maui.
It was a gorgeous wedding. Sunset ceremony, small invitee list, oldies dance party… perfect.
And then, of course, there were the tropical cocktails. Laced with coconut and garnished with orchids, I jokingly told friends I’d become addicted to Malibu, the syrup-y sweet liquor I hadn’t tasted since college.
All kidding aside, coconut packs rich, tremendous flavor, even if it is a bit over-used. The milk is a vegan’s dream and perhaps the best substitute for cream I think I’ve ever had. When married (no pun intended) with coconut oil, it makes warm dishes as fragrant as sun tan lotion.
In honor of my friend Mason, here is my take on tropical honeymoon fare. It’s a soup, (which seems a bit heavy for re-staging an island vacation), but the flavors really take me back. The base is primarily red lentils, with some vegetables, lime juice and basil tossed in. I also chopped up a jalapeno for a little heat, but this step is completely optional if spicy just isn’t your thing…
Mason L.A., I love you and I feel so honored to have been part of your big day. You are the cutest thing since shredded coconut.
Now let’s eat soup!
The Petite Aesthete
Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Lime
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium, vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
4 tablespoons coconut oil
3 cups red lentils
7-8 cups water
1 13-½ oz can light coconut milk
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
12 basil leaves, chopped
Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a large pan. When the oil is melted, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped jalapeno and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes longer until the mixture breaks down and becomes a golden color.
Gently add the red lentils and water. Cover pan with a slightly open lid and simmer over medium-low heat until lentils cook through. This should take about 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of the cooking process, remove the lid on the pan to encourage any extra moisture to evaporate. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
By this point, your soup should be fairly thick. Open the can of coconut milk and slowly add the contents, stirring to combine. This should thin out the soup perfectly, but if a thinner consistency is desired, add a bit more water. Simmer 5 more minutes to encourage the flavors to meld together. Turn off heat and add the lime zest and juice, along with the salt. Toss in the basil and serve immediately.
Additional basil can be used as a garnish if you dig that kind of thing…
I know I do!