Friday, October 29, 2010

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

This recipe was inspired by one my friend Jim used to make.  Years ago, Jim would host soup-night every Monday night.  Usually he would have spent Sunday creating these awesome soups based on recipes from other countries, and the fruit of his labor would be wonderful soups and even better - time to connect with friends.  One of the best ways to get to know someone is through sharing a meal.  Maybe that is why I have such a fondness for soup.  I associate soup with Jim and those great soup-nights - breaking bread with friends and family.

We love this Egyptian-style soup because it is warming, creamy and filling without making you feel lethargic and bloated.  It's even better the second day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld.  Leftovers keep well in canning jars in the freezer if you can't finish it after a few days.  If you can't find the red lentils, green lentils will work, but your soup won't be this pretty shade of orange.


  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 green peppers (or sweet red peppers or one of each)
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups red (or orange) lentils (uncooked)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cups liquid (water and/or vegetable broth or chicken broth, at least 4 cups of this should be water)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • In a large heavy soup pot combine vegetables (cut in large chunks) with canned tomatoes,  rinsed lentils and liquid
  • Bring to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes and salt.  
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Puree soup with immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender (being sure to leave lid slightly ajar so that you don't end up with soup all over your kitchen - trust me!)
  • Return to heat and allow to gently simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to bottom of pan, for about 5-10 minutes
  • Serve with lemon wedges
  • For an added nutrient boost, try adding a few handfulls of raw spinach or chopped kale to the soup during the last 5-10 minutes!


  1. How does this soup work if it isn't pureed? I think I'd prefer having it as a Lentil Stew. Would it need anything extra, like more liquid?

  2. So sorry I am just getting back to this! As a stew, not sure how it would work as the red lentils are fairly small and delicate. Pureeing it combines the flavors of all ingredients so that every bite is a balanced combo.