Curried Red Lentil Soup

red lentil soup flavored with indian spices and topped with chopped cilantro

Red lentils are a versatile member of the lentil family. Along with yellow and white lentil varieties, red lentils are sold decorticated (with their skins removed), so they cook much quicker than do their black, brown, or green counterparts. In fact, red lentils easily cook down to mush if you’re not careful, but that’s a great quality to have when making soups or Indian-style daal. Here we have a hearty soup with some of those Indian influences—just shy of a more authentic masoor dal—using a few key pantry items. Blooming spices and tomato paste in an onion mixture creates layers of toasty flavor. And because these lentils cook and soften so quickly, there’s no need for a blender or any special equipment. Instead, we simply use a whisk to lightly pulse the mixture, resulting in a soup with a pleasant, rustic texture. A splash of lemon juice gives brightness to the dish. Add a little naan or toasted bread, and salad, and you’ve got a quick, simple soup makes the perfect light dinner.

Curried Red Lentil Soup

red lentil soup flavored with indian spices and topped with chopped cilantro
Serves 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra wedges for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, pepper, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Ladle soup into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with olive oil, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with extra lemon juice. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thin soup with water, if desired, when reheating.)

Nutrition facts:

1 serving (out of 5 servings) 333 calories 21 grams of protein 49 grams of carbohydrates 19 grams of fiber 5 grams of sugar 744 milligrams of sodium 379 milligrams of potassium 7 grams of fat ( 1 grams of saturated fat 4 grams of monounsaturated fat 1 grams of polyunsaturated fat )

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