Lentil broth is a type of stock made from boiling lentils, which are a small variety of legume that provides for vegetarian cuisine in some cultures. Like other kinds of broth, lentil broth results in the essence of the lentil being infused into the liquid. The result is often used in different kinds of soups and stews.
Various different kinds of lentils can be used in preparing lentil broth. Red, brown and green lentils have their own soup or stock recipes. Cooks also have to choose whether to use lentils on their own, or to mix them with other plant-based foods. The lentils used for these recipes are generally dried, where the method for making lentil broth requires boiling the lentils for a long time. Lentils may also need to be soaked in cold or lukewarm water prior to boiling in order to soften them for use in soups or other recipes.
In terms of health values, these recipes provide a lot of protein, since lentils are a very high-protein type of legume. Amino acids and other elements are also present in the lentil stock or broth. Boiling lentils can also create stock with attractive colors and a hearty taste, without using animal products, where meat-based soups are more perishable.
The use of lentil broth in various world cuisines often involves adding specific ingredients to the boiled lentils. Some common ones are onions, potatoes, carrots, or a variety of spices including salt and pepper, garlic, or various spices common to South Asian regions, or mixes of spices called curry. Butter is also a common addition; the use of butter adds fat, which complements the “thin” taste or texture of boiled lentils.
Using lentils to make broth or soup is common in many different food cultures around the world. This type of soup recipe is traditional in some areas of the United Kingdom. Lentils are often used in Ethiopean cooking and in some other forms of African cuisine. In other food cultures, such as some within Europe, lentils are commonly eaten on holidays. The less perishable nature of lentils, when they are dried, makes these foods a low-cost protein for households that cannot afford to buy and store meat for daily meals. Lentil broth also provides a common cooking stock for vegetarians who are avoiding fattier forms of protein or lowering their intake of red meats or other proteins for any reason.