Spicy Lentil Soup

True confessions today.

My kitchen is a wreck and has been for some time.

I haven’t really wanted to cook or bake anything.

We’ve also been eating a lot of crap (read lots of take-out pizza).

Let’s blame these on COVID fatigue.

The pantry is jamb packed and over flowing.   Although I’m not a prepper, let’s blame that on not wanting to run out of stuff “just in case.”   Besides, I want to maximize my weekly (or every other week) grocery store trips.

Last weekend, I got in my groove again.  I cleaned and organized the kitchen and pantry and baked cookies, made some great breakfast muffins (more to come on those), and whipped up a soup entirely from what we had on hand.

This soup came out perfect.   I loved the combination of flavors and the spicy richness.   Check your fridge and pantry for the ingredients.  If you don’t have them all, improvise.   This soup is very forgiving.  For instance, my celery was quite limp and my carrots a bit slimy and who knows how old the lentils were.   Don’t have brown lentils?  Use green.  No worries.  It all works.

Spicy Lentil Soup

Modified recipe from Cookie and Kate


  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 (28 oz.) can petit diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 c. brown lentils
  • 4 c. chicken stock (Use veggie stock if you like.)
  • 2 c. filtered water
  • 1 t. salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 c. baby spinach
  • 1-2 T. habanero vinegar (or your choice)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot and celery.  Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes (or until onions start to turn translucent).
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add lentils, broth and the water. Add the salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  5. Add the baby spinach and  cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1-2 tablespoon of vinegar. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.   You may also add more vinegar and red pepper flakes if desired.
  7. Serve.

Yield: 8

Like I said, this recipe is quite adaptable.   I think the next time I make it I will add sweet potatoes.  I also can’t rave enough about the curry/cumin combo here.  I would love to make a curried tomato soup along these same lines.

Serve with some crusty brown bread (and maybe a salad if you’re ambitious).

I’m linking up with Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.


18 comments to Spicy Lentil Soup

  • That’s a very comforting and flavourful soup. Nice for the chilly nights.

  • Pam

    Sounds nearly perfect to me but, I’d have to add some sort of meat for Bill to eat it. I’ve been organizing and cleaning this week also, not so much cooking since I made a casserole and spread that out over a few meals. We’ve been eating a lot of crap too! Bill got his second vaccine yesterday and I’m still waiting,,, Take care

  • Mae

    I think the fatigue problem is becoming universal! We are having canned soup for lunch, which is not very ambitious. We haven’t been doing any take-out, though, it’s to depressing to know it would be more fun if it was served to you and you didn’t have to do the clean up yourself. I feel sorry for local restaurants, but I’m just not into takeout.

    be safe… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • I’m fatigued just thinking about it. We try to do takeout from our local restaurants, not chains, for the simple reason of supporting them. (And, because I haven’t wanted to cook.)

  • Ah you do make me smile, rescuing your vegetables for this flavorful and spicy rich soup. It really is my kind of soup, such a fab glowing colour too. I’d give it a go, but i promised my partner Broccoli soup as we have broccoli that needs using up and i don’t really like eating it any other way. Hope your keeping well

  • Liz

    Mmmmm….if I don’t have lentils in the pantry, I’m adding them to my shopping list. This will make great lunches for next week. P.S. Is there a certain amount of lentils you use?

    • Wow. Thank you, Liz, for pointing out the lentil issue. I just added it to the recipe. It is 1 cup of brown lentils. I hadn’t even noticed that. Appreciate you asking so I could fix it! Hope you enjoy!

  • Liz

    That was my guess. P.S. I just started to update a post for Easter candy brownie cookies from 2015 with no candy listed in the ingredients!

  • I love lentil soups and this one looks hearty and delicious. Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays this week.

    I share it the fatigue. Besides my soups on Sundays, I’ve been cooking so little lately–even using old recipes in my book reviews because work has been insane and I just can’t.

    • If it weren’t for book review commitments, I would be blogging soooo much less. I was glad I’ve at least been cooking something sort of blog worthy on the weekends.

  • LOVE lentil soup! And the spicier the better. And I have a bunch in my pantry at the moment, so I’m good to go. 🙂

  • Well I’m glad that you got in your groove again because your spicy lentil soup sounds delicious. I won’t use the habanero vinegar (my taste buds would like it but my stomach won’t) and use green lentils as that is what I have in my pantry,

    • The vinegar is pretty mild. We made it ourselves and I was surprised that it’s not spicier. I hope you make this recipe your own.