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April 8, 2010

Recipe for curried red lentil and yogurt soup

Curried red lentil soup 

One of my favorite ways to make soup is to start with ingredients from one point on the color spectrum. Sometimes I go for browns, or greens. Today, it's red/pink/orange/gold. Throw some red lentils and matching vegetables into a slow cooker, add an onion (of course), then look for spices to match. Smooth out the whole thing with some Greek yogurt at the end. The result? Rustic, earthy, but not heavy. Definitely a warmer-weather soup that's good hot or cold. Pair it with a sandwich, a few samosas, or bread and cheese. (My cat, Gyllen, couldn't resist the aroma of this soup; he kept trying to get into the photo, and finally succeeded.) The recipe includes both slow cooker and stove-top instructions.

Curried red lentil and yogurt soup

Serves 8.


2 cups red lentils
1 cup chopped tomato (I use Pomi tomato)
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp sweet curry powder
1-1/2 tsp ras el hanout (or a mix of cumin and turmeric)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 cups water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


In a 4-quart slow cooker, place the lentils, tomato, carrot, onion, curry, ras el hanout and cayenne. Add 6 cups of water, and stir to combine. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours.

(To cook on the stove top, place lentils, tomato, carrot, onion, curry, ras el hanout and cayenne in a small Dutch oven or heavy soup pot. Add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 2 hours. Check water from time to time, and add 1/4 cup at a time if the lentils start to stick. Then, continue with the directions below.)

Using an immersion blender (carefully!), or in batches in a standing blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add lemon zest, yogurt, and plenty of salt and pepper. Using the blender again, or a whisk, process the soup to incorporate the yogurt. 

Serve hot, or chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and serve cold.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types | April 8, 2010 at 08:54 AM

I was just thinking lentil soup this morning as I was getting ready for work! I think I could do this with what I've got in the pantry (including a bag of red lentils I've been wondering what to do with.)

Posted by: Kalynskitchen | April 8, 2010 at 09:47 AM

Oh yes, I'm loving the sound of this. What do you think would happen if I left out the carrot to make it phase one? Would you add a little more tomato?

Posted by: Heidi | April 8, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Love that about colors. We kids would always laugh when my mom would make a meal of fish, cauliflower and rice. Or salmon, boiled carrots & canned peaches. Monochromatic meals. She'd never realize it until it was on the plate. Makes me smile to remember. Think I'll call her and reminisce ...

Posted by: Alta | April 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM

I still haven't make a creamy lentil soup. THis would be perfect!

Posted by: susan g | April 8, 2010 at 02:14 PM

Now that I have 11# of red lentils, I'm going to be making a lot of soups and Kayln's dal. Last night we had soup from Tea. Looks like this one goes to the top of the list.

Posted by: Lydia | April 8, 2010 at 04:52 PM

TW, I found some very old red lentils in my pantry when I went to make this soup. In fact, I'd forgotten to date the lid of the jar so those lentils might have qualified for museum admission! I tossed them into the compost pile, and bought fresh new lentils, which I'm sure make a difference in the taste of the soup.

Kalyn, you could leave out the carrot, which is there primariy for sweetness, and add a bit of something sweet -- I don't know what would work for phase one -- maybe a bit of agave, or artificial sweetener? Or just leave it out without adding something back in; I think it would be fine.

Heidi, I used to laugh when my husband made meals using foods of one color, but somehow with soup it really works to stick within a color palette. Of course, soup happens no matter what combination of ingredients you put in the pot!

Alta, this one is great because it doesn't have cream.

Susan, seriously, 11 pounds? Goodness, that's a lotta lentils!

Posted by: Lucia | April 8, 2010 at 06:12 PM

I'm thrilled to see my buddy Gyllen has such good taste and made it into the photo!!!!! This soup looks and sounds delicious. You know if I had been there, I would have put a spoonful on a saucer on the floor for Gyllen to sample.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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