A colorful, curried red lentil soup of my own

by Katie on January 10, 2011

When it comes to the kitchen, winter is just about synonymous with lentil soup. Strangely, though, sometimes I completely forget about lentils for a while. I was trying to figure out why that is. I didn’t grow up eating lentils, so it’s not been something I naturally gravitated towards. But I think it’s mostly because for a long time, I didn’t know how to incorporate these little gems into my cooking.

Fortunately, that changed. Red lentils, with their appealing warm color, fast cooking time, and high protein content, are great to incorporate into meals, and soup is an ideal way to consume them. (Cooking them into your tomato-based pasta sauce is another.) One of my favorite red lentil soup recipes is from Heidi Swanson’s gorgeous website, 101 Cookbooks. I’ve made it more than once, and it delights every time.

Ultimately, I wanted a soup tailor-made for my own preferences. My red lentil soup below is Indian-spiced and packed with veggies, because that’s how I roll. Whereas the 101 Cookbooks red lentil soup recipe gave me the inspiration to incorporate curry powder and split peas, I got the idea to incorporate mustard seed from reading Taste of the East; a cinnamon stick, from an Indian cooking class I once took in DC years ago; and the orange peel, from an old Bon Appetit recipe that had absolutely nothing to do with this one. Go figure.

How have you taken any basic ingredient or recipe and made it your own?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna January 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I either always make the same soup or never make the same soup twice, depending on how you look at it – 1) Chop lots of veggies from fridge, freezer and cupboard, 2) Add to pot with some liquid and random spices, 3) Cook for a while, 4) Eat.

Anyway, this soup looks yummy and I’m totally going to sort of follow part of this recipe next time I make soup!


Katie January 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

Hi Joanna – I like your approach. You’re really good at creating meals with what you have – I remember that risotto we made once that was great. I do this a lot with soups too. Usually I have some sort of bean (or split pea) in there, and sometimes I throw in leftover grains. The flavors don’t always “pop” the way I’d like them to, though, but the flavors of this soup really worked well, so I had to share it. :)

Thanks for commenting and sorry if you had to wait for it to get “approved” – I’m going to try and fix that!


annette defino March 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

I love red lentils, now I add bulgar wheat and oftentimes kale.
Delicious !


Katie March 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Bulgur is a neat idea, Annette!


blythe March 11, 2011 at 7:22 pm



Katie March 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

My pleasure, Blythe…thanks for the feedback.


Litzi January 25, 2015 at 11:01 am

I am very excited about the chili rcpiee. How did the coconut curry turn out? We have tried on numerous occasions to recreate this thai restaurant favorite, but it never turns out quite right. P.S. How are you and that baby in there doing? What’s going on with that placenta?


Becca Jane July 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Wow, I can’t wait to try this recipe! I am loving your blog! I am trying out your amaranth porridge with greens and miso tomorrow morning. Yum!


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