Chef's Rights

The chef has the right to lick the bowl and spoon.

Spicy Lentil Soup

When I first started looking at different recipes for lentil soup, I was surprised by how many variations there are. The only soup I’ve really made before is minestrone, and I’ve always used by grandma’s recipe: whatever’s in the fridge goes in the pot. It’s not very scientific. But since I have so little experience with lentils, I thought I’d do some research.

There appear to be three main types of lentil soups, which are distinguished by the spices that give them their flavor. There’s what I would call kind of “Standard Lentil Soup”:

  • paprika
  • parsely
  • bay leaf

There’s another take on it:

  • garlic
  • cumin
  • thyme
  • bay leaf

And there’s what seems to be called “Red Lentil Soup”, though from what I can tell only the color of the lentils is different:

  • ginger
  • curry
  • cayenne pepper
  • nutmeg

For a variety of reasons, most importantly that I don’t have any cumin and that I dislike curry, I decided to make a variation of first one. I also really like the idea of a soup with some bite – a little spice to brighten up the Boston winter.

The recipe below was inspired by this Lentil Soup Recipe.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 7 ounces dry lentils
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped purple cabbage
  • 3/4 package frozen spinach
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Add oil to saucepan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add dry lentils, chopped onion, carrots, and purple cabbage.  Saute until the onion is tender.
  3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and the water.
  4. Add bay leaf, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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This entry was posted on February 4, 2012 by and tagged , .
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