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Curried Red Lentil Soup


adapted by Cathy from Vegetarian Classics, Jeanne Lemlin

A hearty and flavorful lentil soup variation.


1 ½ cups red lentils, picked over for stones and rinsed in a strainer
1420 ml6 C water
15 ml1 T. Canola oil (I probably used olive oil)
¾ t. salt
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes (such as red-skinned), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice.
44 ml3 T. unsalted butter (or an alternative)
1 medium onion, finely diced
5 ml1 t. minced gingerroot
2 garlic gloves, minced
5 ml1 t. turmeric
10 ml2 t. ground cumin
1 ½ t. ground coriander
1 ml1/8 t. cayenne pepper
¾ C finely diced canned tomatoes
30 ml2 T. lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
Minced cilantro for garnish (optional)


1.Combine lentils, water, oil and salt in a 3-Qt saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. With a large spoon skim off any foam that rises to the surface and discard. Lower heat and cook 20 minutes, stirring often.

2.Stir in the diced potatoes.

3.Melt the butter (or alternative) in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and cook 2 min. Sprinkle on the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne, and brown these spices 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in the diced tomatoes and cook 1 min. more.

4.Scrape the mixture into the soup and stir well. Cook the soup 20 minutes more, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir frequently from this point on to prevent the soup from sticking. When done, the soup should be somewhat smooth and the consistency of thick cream. It is thick and pasty, thin with a little water. Mix in lemon juice. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro, if desired.


Since I had only brown lentils in the house, I used those instead. I’m sure the red lentils would be more colorful. Lemlin advocates for the red variety (“actually orange”) for their “nutty, buttery flavor”, and for the fact that they dissolve into a “thick, smooth soup that is concentrated in flavor and robust in texture.” Her idea of comfort food.

Major Ingredients: