Hearty Lentil Soup for the Wintry Soul

My favorite winter evenings go something like these: come home early from work (hey it gets dark earlier!), pour yourself a hot cup of cocoa, put on something nice on TV and sit on the sofa cuddled in a shawl and do nothing! Now you might ask what happens to the dinner? and that's where this soup comes in.. this is my favorite one pot wonder meal. Wonder because its an absolutely delicious and healthy soup, cooks entirely with the pantry staples AND most of the cooking time is unattended. Now isn't that a win-win! I am usually game for any hot soup dinner during winter and this one being with lentils is even more heartier and feeling. I usually enjoy this soup with some make-do garlic bread which is just regular whole wheat bread toasted and then flavored with some olive oil and some fresh crushed garlic!

I used to buy the regular brown lentils (picture below) from supermarkets until a friend of mine introduced me to the french green lentils. French green lentils are smaller and darker than the regular brown lentils but I find them more packed in flavor and best of all they retail their shape after cooking much better than the regular brown lentils which tend to fall apart easily. I usually order the french green lentils online and they have now become a staple of my pantry. If you don't have these though brown lentils are just a great substitute. Lentils are a good source of fiber, protein and iron while still being a low-calorie food. Lentils are also supposedly good for your cholesterol numbers! Here are the three lentils that I regularly use in this soup: ones on the far left are french green lentils, far right are regular brown lentils and the red ones are the red split masoor dal.

Recipe is very forgiving and accommodating. Onions, leeks, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, kale.. practically any vegetable you have in the fridge will likely go well with this soup. Also the spice and seasoning amounts are just a guideline, feel free to dress up whichever way tastes best to you!

Recipe Source: Influenced by the Lentil Soup recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything book.
1Tbsp olive oil
3/4C French green lentils (or regular brown lentils)
1/4C split red masoor daal
6C water

1/2 onion
1 carrot
3 celery sticks
1 small potato
3 cloves of garlic
1inch piece of ginger
1 lime juice
chopped herb - cilantro or parsley

2 bay leaves
a pinch of dried thyme or italian seasoning (optional)
1tsp paprika - for color
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
pinch of turmeric powder
salt & pepper
dash of vinegar (optional)

  1. Chop onions, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots and potato into small pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil in a big soup pot. 
  3. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions are tender.
  4. Add ginger and garlic and saute until aromatic.
  5. Add potatoes, carrots and celery and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Rinse the lentils well and add them to the soup pot alongwith 6C water.
  7. Add all the spices.
  8. Let the mixture barely come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer covered for 30-40minutes until the lentils are tender. Boiling is usually a very vigorous motion for a soup so I just let the soup simmer for an extended period of time.
  9. Once the lentils are tender and soup is ready; remove from heat. Add lime juice, vinegar and cilantro/parsley. Adjust the seasonings and serve!
One hot steaming bowl of this soup I am sending to Tongue Tickler's Monthly Mingle Soup Edition! This is my first entry ever to a food blog event, so I am kind of excited about it :)


amt said…
one bowl of this soup for me, please!
Ushnish Ghosh said…
Dear PJ
Thanks for visiting my blog and the appreciations.
This soup is awesome and I can say it is " nicely described, engineered with detailed specifications and executed" :-).
Now let me see if I can get the other 2 Lentils in India.

Lentil soup or rather a mixture of Indian Lentils with all kind of Vegetables is a regular item in my house. Your one is new to me specially the seasoning.
Happy cooking
sangeeta said…
hey PJ..
just finished a big bowl of one such lentil soup n seeing this i want more...:)
about the green garlic that you love so much....you can grow your own with garlic pods , actually i planted some today owing to the many queries i got for this herb , will update about how it grows....you just need a small pot about 6 inch deep n you can plant at least 25 pods in one medium sized pot....give it a try n you would love that..
SE said…
yum...love the soup..the best dish in this cold winters...and just as u said..i too love the olive oil n garlic combination for bread..i add some pepper powder too..
TNL said…
Soup is a surefire way to cure any blues....especially in the winter!
Looks tempting!
Karine said…
Hi PJ,

To answer your comments on my blog, jerusalem artichokes are in season right now. I think they will be in season until March.

As for their taste, their taste like apples to me with a potato mixture. But they don't taste potato or artichokes. Actually, I am not sure if I am 100% right, but I think even if they are called jerusalem artichokes, they are not related to artichokes.

By the way, your soup looks perfect for the cold weather we are having right now in Toronto. :)
Saurabh Deoras said…
Now this is something I really enjoy when it is rainy and cold outside.
Nupur said…
Oh, that picture of the soup is just irresistible, I can smell the spices and the crusty bread soaking through the soup...
PJ said…
amt, just stop by and you got one steaming hot bowl of this soup! :)

Ushnish, thanks for the kind words :) this soup is very accommodating; mix it up with whichever lentils you have at hand and I think it would still turn out well!

Sangeeta, great idea, I would love to know how your potted plant does! So far I haven't had much green thumb but I think it's time to give it another shot!

SE, garlic bread is my favorite! I bet the pepper powder would taste great on it, nice tip!
PJ said…
Cardamom, thanks :) I am so glad you liked it.

Karine, thanks for stopping by! Those Jerusalem artichokes just look so tempting! I hope to be able to find them nearby soon :)

Saurabh, thanks :) Yes, this soup is a great remedy for cold rainy days!

Nupur, Welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked the soup :)
Mona said…
Sounds like a hearty and healthy lentil soup!
Unknown said…
PJ this delicious bowl is indeed the best food for the cold.... weather we are going thru.
s said…
this looks great..its got everything..carrot, 2 types of pulses..real healthy i must say, and by the look of it delicious too!
PJ said…
thanks :)

yes, this soup is indeed a comfort for the wintry weather and healthy too!
Sonia said…
Awww...I am so late here...there are lot of ppl in Q here. :D Please reserve one bowl for me PJ. :)
I didn't knw about french lentils...I do have other twos. And lentil soup is always welcome. Look so yummy! Thanks for pointing that book. :)

Oh damn! I totally forgot to send my entry for soup event. :(
Rajani said…
yes, a warm shawl some hot soup makes for a perfect winter evening. the soup looks very inviting :)

was just going through your comments and stopped at the jerusalem artichoks, cos since a last couple of days this one vegetable has been staring at me from a new cookbook I bought. you know it looks quite similar to the Indian root vegetable called 'arbi' colocasia. i am wondering if they are the same and because maybe the jerusalem connection caused it to be called arbi in hindi.
Unknown said…
Awesome!Nothing like the warmth of soup during cold winter,the best part for me :D
Padmajha said…
Hi PJ!I am the other PJ u 'met' at Jayaspace!!Nice soup.I posted one with the same title last week[the method is different though]!!That's a lovely coincidence rite!!
Nizsha said…
The soup looks yummy and healthy.You have a great blog with a lot of variety and healthy cooking.
PJ said…
Sonia, thanks so much! I have a hot soup bowl reserved for you already :) The book is great though, its the book I have gone to most for recipes! There is another one by the same author 'How to cook everything vegetarian' I wonder now if I should have gone with that.

Rajani, thanks :) Jerusalem artichokes looked so interesting to me too, I asked Karine the same question if they taste like taro roots or artichokes.. looks like they taste closer to apples and potatoes. So could be related to arbi. I am hoping to get a hand on them soon!

Yasmeen, thanks :) This soup is a perfect remedy for a wintry soul! I am so glad you liked it.
PJ said…
PJ, yes, I just saw your post! That's an awesome post and coincidence indeed! Great minds think alike, you see! Thanks for stopping by :)

Nizsha, thanks :) and welcome to my blog! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
Dolly Sharma said…
Awesome Presentation and love your hearty Lentil soup. Can this Wintry Soul get some Soup too...Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments.
PJ said…
Dolly, thanks :) I am glad you liked it, you have a wonderful blog there too!
Chitra said…
First time here..u have a wonderful space.. :)
sayantani said…
soups for winter night dinners are my fav too. so warming and hearty would love to try this one soon. it
PJ said…
Welcome to my blog, Chitra! I am so glad you liked it :)

Sayantani, thanks :) I hope you try it soon.. its a wonderful easy and healthy soup!
Namitha said…
Really comforting soup..Timely recipe..Am glad that ,at my first visit to your blog I got a keepsake recipe :-)Thanks for this :D
Pari Vasisht said…
Hi PJ. That's a wholesome soup loaded with proteins and so beautifully flavored.
PJ said…
Gulmohar, welcome to my blog! and thanks for your kind words :) I am so glad that you liked this soup.

Pari, thanks :) Lentils are indeed very protein-rich and healthy. I am very glad you liked this.
Sushma Mallya said…
Hi PJ,u got a beautiful blog,soup looks so good and superb click too..
lubnakarim06 said…
Wow..that's an comfort bowl of yum soup....looks flavorful....
PJ said…
Hi Sushma, welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked the soup and the photos :) Hope to see you here again soon!

Hi Kitchen flavours, welcome to my blog! I am very glad you liked the recipe! Hope to see you here again soon :)
Spice said…
Love that click....In my house dinner is not complete if there is no lentil soup...
Anonymous said…
Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!
PJ said…
Spice, welcome to my blog! Lentil soup is such a warm and healthy delight that I would love to have it every day at my house too :)

Anon, thanks for the kind and encouraging words :) I am so glad you stopped by and left a note!
Anonymous said…
Genial post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.
Anonymous said…

Wanted to thank you initially for your creative writing. It inspired me to finally make a recipe out of French green lentils I purchased a year ago on my trip to Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I made a Lentil Couscous soup last night, which came out really nice.

And to my amazement, I am thankful that I stumbled on to your blog as I discovered finally the name and then the look (on google images) of ‘the’ vegetable I had been in search for -- for over 8 years!! Thanks also to your commenting visitors !! Although, I’ll bet it would only be a miracle to find it here in the USA. About 10 years ago my husbands family cooked a meal while I visited them in the Middle East that had rice and [now I know the name and spelling-thank you all] “Colocasia” / “Arbi” and lemon on the side. I could never get it out of my head, how wonderful this root veggie was; it was served cooked & diced atop a bed of rice with a slice of lemon on the side. I bet the closest thing would be Jerusalem artichokes? I have seen J.artichokes in stores, but have never tried them and mostly had no idea what I was starring at. Do you think I can get them from an Indian or Middle Eastern Market??

Thanks Again—Most Grateful!!!

Oregon, USA
PJ said…
Hi Anon, thanks so much for dropping by and for your kind words! That sure makes my day.

Best part about food blogging so far for me has been just this collective knowledge of so many wonderful cooks all around the world who share the same passion for cooking and exploring new ingredients!

I have seen arbi roots in Indian grocery stores, so you have a good chance of getting them there. For last two weeks I have even seen J. artichokes at my farmer's market too (Sunnyvale, CA) so there is a good chance your local farmer's market may carry them too and I agree arbi and Jerusalem artichokes are very similar. Hope you find it nearby and have a great time cooking! Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you again :)