Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Red Lentil Soup | National Homemade Soup Day

Any day -- especially a gray, wintry day -- is a good day to make soup in my book. Tell me that it's National Homemade Soup Day, and I'm all over it.

It's not just the eating of it that's comforting, it's in the making, too. There's the first couple minutes of the butter melting, then the onions softening, then the warm aroma of the spices joining the party, the satisfying pleasure of stirring, the familiar awe when something creamy deliciousness evolves from nearly nothing. Every sense is touched. The process itself is soothing.

I don't have much experience cooking with lentils. Only once or twice have I made soup with the brown lentils I found at the supermarket. And it was met with a murky, sidelong glance from Mr. Rosemary. About the same reaction I got from split pea soup.

So it was a bold move I made when I picked up a bag of red lentils at Trader Joe's on one of my semi-annual trips to the "city."  Maybe it was the color he didn't like, I thought to myself.

Still, that pretty bag of coral colored beans sat in the pantry for several months. I hid them behind a bag of rice so they wouldn't chastise me any more. Then one day I relented.

I was naive enough to believe that the red lentils would remain a pretty color when they cooked. But they weren't brown nor green, so I was still on safe ground. I also -- although I didn't write it in the recipe below -- added about a cup of cubed sausage, knowing full well my life partner does not deem beans a fair substitute for meat.

The curry added just a nice dash of sweet spiciness to the soup and the coconut milk, as you'd expect, the right amount of creaminess.

Mr. Rosemary had seconds.

Red Lentil - Coconut Milk Soup
Adapted from Good Food Matters
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup diced onion
2 carrots, about 1/2 cup, diced
2 stalks celery, about 1/2 cup, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup red lentils
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce can whole coconut milk

In a large pot, over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Stir in onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook for about 1 minute. Add the lentils and 3 cups of chicken broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and the coconut milk. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes and serve.


  1. I am a soup person and love the lentil. This is perfect for me.

    1. I was just tickled that Mr. Rosemary liked this lentil soup, too, Angie.

  2. I accidentally deleted this comment from Sam Hoffer --
    You aren't the only one that hoped red lentils would keep their pretty color. In fact last night I made a lentil salad and didn't have enough brown ones and added a few red ones to compensate. In the end I could not tell the red ones from the brown ones, so that's a pretty good test. I'm one that okay with beans substituting for meat, but sausages always add a bit of bulk and I'm all for it.

    Stay warm,

    1. Sorry I accidentally erased your comment, Sam. I'm glad I wasn't the only one deceived by the color of the lentils!

  3. Reminds me of a thinner version of the daal my mum makes - what a warming and tasty dish :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. I have a bag of red lentils in the pantry and this sounds like a great way to use them. Your husband sounds like mine…add sausage to most anything and he will love it. :D

  5. Rosemary....this looks luscious! Though good on a cold dreary day....I eat soup all year round! And I agree...the best part of the soup is in the making, the anticipation, and the fragrances wafting through the kitchen! : )

    1. For all the times I'm in a hurry to make something, Anne, I do relish the slow processes that make the house smell so good.


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