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Red Lentil Soup

2013 January 10

I wasn’t intending to make this recipe for Red Lentil Soup a post. Quite honestly I wasn’t even sure if this recipe would be a keeper until I tasted a spoonful straight from the pot, followed by another, and another!

You see, I have a bad habit of buying random ingredients at the grocery store that catch my eye without even a plan as to how I will use them. Generally speaking, this is not a great practice to adopt! This week that ingredient was red lentils from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Beautiful pinkish orange lentils; yes I bought them because of their color! (Sadly they don’t retain that color when cooked)

red-lentil-soup-recipe-by-freutcakephoto by Freutcake

Lucky for me I found a New York Times article for Red Lentil soup that literally blew my mind. It was rich and hearty, deliciously spiced, and entirely better than any lentil soup I’ve had before. Step aside green lentils, red lentils have won all the room in my heart!

Sometimes my crazy shopping ways seem to work out.

Red Lentil Soup– recipe via New York Times
yield: serves 6

2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1 medium or large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juice
1 pound red lentils (about 2 1/8 cups), washed and picked over
2 quarts water or chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (more to taste)
Cayenne to taste (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lime

For garnish:
Chopped fresh cilantro or green onions


1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the cumin, coriander, and curry powder. Stir together for about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant, and stir in the tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add salt to taste.

2. Stir in the lentils and water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt to taste and continue to simmer for 15 to 30 minutes, until the lentils have fallen apart and thickened the soup. Using the back of your spoon, mash the lentils against the side of the pot to thicken the soup further. Add the pepper, taste, and add cayenne if you want more spice. Taste and adjust salt. Stir in the lime juice.

3. If you wish, puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, holding a towel over the lid to prevent hot soup from splashing out, and return to the pot. Heat through and serve, topping each bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a generous sprinkling of chopped cilantro.

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Leah Bergman

Editor at Freutcake
Designer, blogger, cocktail shaker. Classic with a bit of sparkle. Founder & Editor of Freutcake.
14 Responses Post a comment
  1. January 10, 2013

    i have the same “problem” when i shop…

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 10, 2013

      Haha our little “problem”.

  2. January 10, 2013

    I’m always looking for a new recipe!! Looks & sounds delicious!!!

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 10, 2013

      Thanks Chloe! Hope you will give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. January 10, 2013

    I have been known to do the same thing. But unfortunately, when it all works out (as it did with you and these lovely lentils), I’m not very motivated to stop. I might have to try this soup!

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 10, 2013

      Haha! So true! I don’t think I will be stopping any time soon either.

  4. January 10, 2013

    Beautiful photo! Looks delicious I will have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing xo

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 10, 2013

      Thank you so much Sarah!

  5. purabinaha permalink
    January 11, 2013

    Can’t get any better! I’ll have to save this recipe since this is tried and tested. This is absolute visual treat !! I am sure this must have tasted fabulous!

  6. January 11, 2013

    This is obviously the stuff of culinary adventures! As long as the food doesn’t go to waste, I don’t see any reason to stop buying random ingredients! I often put red lentils in white rice for a different texture. Did you personally puree the soup or did you try it without blending the ingredients? Red lentils cook down so easily I was wondering whether there was a shortcut to save me from washing out all the blender components! That’s honestly what stopping me from making more soup – I’m so lazy! ๐Ÿ˜›

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 11, 2013

      Yes, these lentils cooked down very easily however I chose to use an immersion blender to puree them even more! No need to however if you like more texture. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. January 13, 2013

    I do the same exact thing when I shop. But I’ve gotten slightly better ever since I downloaded a recipe app. When I find a cool ingredient I want to buy I’ll look up a few recipes in the store so I can at least buy the fixins for an entire recipe! Looks delish ๐Ÿ™‚

    • freutcake permalink*
      January 15, 2013

      What a great idea! I need an app like that. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jessica permalink
    January 24, 2013

    Just made this soup, it’s very good! and I get to feel all healthy! only difference I noticed is mine looks more yellowy-orange than red ๐Ÿ˜›

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