Lentil soup is usually eaten when one is in need or want of something comforting and inexpensive.  This variation is much the same, except with the added bonus of being quite exotic in flavor, too.  The fragrant Indian spices lighten and brighten the soup’s homey flavor.  Red lentils tend to easily break down into a coarse puree during the cooking process so you should expect a creamier texture than typical lentil soups.


  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅛ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ (15-ounce) can tomatoes, chunky, whole-crushed
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ cup parsley or cilantro (optional)


  • In a large pot, combine the first 7 ingredients (water, red lentils, garlic, olive oil, onions, celery, and carrots) together, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 hours, making sure to keep the pot covered so the liquid doesn’t evaporate.
  • Except for the parsley, add the rest of the ingredients (tomato paste, bay leaf, chili powder, salt, tomatoes, curry powder) and let simmer for a few minutes longer.
  • Just before serving, stir in the ½ cup of freshly chopped parsley.

Ready in about 3 hours
Makes 4-6 servings

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Daniel Velez

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