The cool winds of autumn have arrived.  It’s the time of year to bring your warming and comforting soup recipes back into weekly meal planning.  Red lentils are an easy favorite, especially on weeknights, when you may be short on time to get a meal on the table.  They cook quickly and are more easily digested then other legumes. Although optional, I prefer to soak the lentils for 4-8 hours in water to speed their cooking time and to help promote smooth digestion.

Many different red lentil recipes circulate through my kitchen however this one has been a regular for over a decade.  I was living with an Indian boyfriend at the time.  Having grown up in a boarding school in India, he wasn’t much of a cook, though he knew exactly how things should taste.  So over the years, I perfected my cooking with Indian spices, and although the relationship didn’t last, my love of Indian inspired food has.


1 c red lentils, well rinsed, soaking optional
4 c water
2 tbsp ghee or olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2″ ginger, minced
1 tomato, chopped
10 curry leaves, chopped
1 heaped tsp cumin, ground
1 heaped tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp turmeric, ground
himalayan salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a medium sized pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, ground cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato and saute for another 5 minutes or until the onions become transparent.
  3. Add the water and lentils, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook until lentils are soft, 20-30 minutes.
  4. In a separate small pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add cumin seeds, ghee, and salt to the soup pot.
  5. Serve in bowls, garnished with cilantro.

Serves 4

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