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Chili Red Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Veggies and spices add nutrients and flavor to red lentil soup.


  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, unseeded, very thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin (a scant palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric (a scant palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (a scant palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (1/3 palmful)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 pound spinach leaves, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (a generous handful)
  • 1 cup thick plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Plain or garlic Naan bread (available in packaged breads section of larger markets) or other flat bread brushed
  • Melted butter, for brushing


  1. Heat the oil, a couple of turns of the pan, or butter in a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and chili pepper and season liberally with salt and lightly with black pepper. Cook to soften, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and stir for a minute or two, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the lentils and stock and bring soup to a boil. Cook until lentils are very tender, 40 minutes or so, then wilt in the spinach and turn off the heat.
  3. While the soup cooks, process the mint, cilantro and yogurt in a food processor or blender into a sauce. Add salt, to taste.
  4. Griddle-toast the bread according to the package directions, then brush bread with melted butter.
  5. Serve the soup in shallow bowls topped with the cool yogurt sauce and buttered Naan bread alongside.