Curried Lentil Soup


by Debra Daniels-Zeller

Make this easy soup in a crock pot, then it’ll be ready when you are.  All you need to accompany it is crusty bread and salad.

Serves 4-6


1 lg sweet potato
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled, ends removed, and diced
1 tsp each coriander, turmeric, cumin, chili powder
1/8 tsp each cloves and cayenne
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 or 3 med potatoes, diced
1 heaping cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
4 to 5 cups water
1 lemon, juice of (about 1/3 cup)
to taste smoked sea salt
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped



  • Preheat oven to 350F. Bake sweet potato for one hour, or
    until soft. Allow it to cool. Remove skin when cool.
  • Heat a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add oil and
    onion. Stir and cook until onion begins to brown. Add spices
    and sauté for one minute. Blend in garlic, celery, and carrot,
    stirring to coat all vegetables with oil.
  • Add potatoes, lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce
    heat and simmer for one hour.
  • Remove one cup of soup and puree in a blender with the
    sweet potato. Add to soup and cook 5 more minutes.
  • Stir in lemon juice, add smoked salt to taste, and garnish
    with cilantro.

Editor’s Note: I like my curried lentils over brown rice, garnished with yogurt, cilantro, grated coconut, diced hard-boiled eggs, and pumpkins seeds, with chutney on the side.  Makes a great, fast Indian meal!

Tips For Making Stock-Free Soups
Don’t let a lack of soup stock prevent you from making soup.
Here are a few tips for improvising soups.
1. Include basic stock ingredients to your soup line up—
like onions, carrots, celery, parsley.
2. Start by sautéing vegetables. This adds amazing flavor.
Add herbs and spices and lightly heat them.
3. Include acidic ingredients like tomatoes,
lemon, or lime. (A little lime goes a long
4. Use smoked sea salt, or add a
Parmesan rind while cooking.
5. Adjust seasonings and balance
sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and
pungent. For pungent, think
garlic, ginger, turnips, bitter
greens. Remember soup is a
symphony; sometimes all it takes
is a squeeze of lemon or a dash
of salt.

Debra Daniels-Zeller is author of The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook: 200 Recipes That Celebrate the Flavors of Oregon and Washington (Timber Press, 2010). She is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Journal magazine and writes a delightful food blog at She can be reached at (425) 776-4689.

<< Back to (Recipe sub-page)