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Spiced Tomato & Red Lentil Soup

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Serves eight.

Yields about 14 cups.

Curry powder and garam masala are both Indian spice blends, which vary in flavor from blend to blend. Experiment to see which you prefer.

  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. Madras curry powder or garam masala
  • 2 quarts lower-salt chicken broth or homemade vegetable broth
  • Two 14.5-oz. cans petite-diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. (2-1/3 cups) dried red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 medium celery ribs, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Heat the oil in a 6-quart (or larger) Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the curry powder or garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the broth, tomatoes and their juices, lentils, celery, carrot, garlic, cayenne, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to keep the lentils from sticking; skim any foam as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils, carrots, and celery are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 320; Fat (g): 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): 1; Protein (g): 22; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 45; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 480; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I'm on the fence with this recipe and I'm not sure if I'll make it again. I found it lacking in depth so I added a cinnamon stick, an extra 1/2 tsp. of cumin, doubled the cayenne pepper, and used both curry and garam masala. I followed the advice of a previous reviewer and added 2 Tbs. of vinegar, which improved the flavour.

This is excellent! Very full flavored. I substituted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies for the Canned Tomatoes and left out the cayenne pepper. Also used frozen turkey stock from my Thanksgiving bird. Delicious!

This is one of our favourites. It has become a staple at our house. You can adjust the heat by adding more cayenne, but I don't think that it is necessary. I often make it in the pressure cooker (about 12-15 min.) when time is short, and it is just as good.

I'd agree with a couple of previous posters and say this soup is on the verge of greatness as-is, but a little bland, no depth. To round it out I added just a splash of white vinegar (about 2 Tablespoons) and it really filled out the flavor for me.

I like what desertbaker said this DOES grow on you. I up the curry powder to a heaping tablespoon and we like it spicy so I double the cayenne too. It keeps getting better so be sure to make it in advance so the lentils have time to melt into the vegetables. This is perfect when you have a house full of family and you can just leave the pot on the stove all day adding water when it gets too thick. It's delicious seriously, we're always sad when it's gone.

I have never cooked with red lentils before. I rinsed them and let them sit in the collander. This was a mistake as they started to harden. Next time, I'll rinse them right before I'm ready to add them to the soup. I made this with vegetable stock, garam masala (from Whole Foods bulk bins), and only 1/8 tablespoon of cayenne. But I doubled the garlic. This came out mildly spicy, which is all I can handle. My family enjoyed it.

This soup was very bland, with no depth of flavour.

this was excellent as is.. I used garam marsala and used a fresh chili instead of cayenne and added a few cups of chopped mustard greens.

My family are fans of both lentils and Indian inspired flavors. Made this soup a few weeks ago, and my family said it was okay, but no rave reviews at the time. But I must say, it GROWS on you. Since that first serving it has become something we crave, and has been asked for repeatedly by adults and children alike. Made it with the garam masala. Simple, hearty and nutritious, and most of all, satisfying.

I enjoyed this soup, but thought the flavor was a little pointed; needed something to round it out. I also added a can of dark red kidney beans for a little diversity.

I used a mix of hot and sweet curry powder, but next time I will use just the hot. But it is a lovely winter soup with a high protein count while being vegetarian. I will definitely make it again.

It was a little bland for my likes. I spiced it up with a little green curry paste and it seemed richer and more flavorful. It could have been that my broth was too bland.

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