Lentil Soup with Curried Vegetables and Rice

Preparation info

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Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Lentils require no soaking and cook quickly. For this soup, spice up the lentils with cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaf. Brown rice adds a nutty flavor. Serve the soup as a main course, topped with yogurt and cilantro leaves.


  • 1 pound brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)
  • 1 small onion pierced with 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, bruised
  • 1 leafy rib celery
  • 1½ to 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 red (bell) pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 large carrot, diced (¼ inch)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked long- or short-grain brown rice (optional)
  • ½ cup lowfat yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro


    1. Combine the lentils, water, cinnamon stick, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, bruised garlic, and celery in a large heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring, until mixture boils. Cook, covered, over low heat until lentils are soft, about 25 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, onion, bay leaf, and celery and discard. Working in batches, puree the lentils. Transfer to a large wide saucepan. Add enough milk to get the desired consistency.
    2. In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, combine the chopped onion, red pepper, carrot, chopped garlic, and olive oil. Cook over low heat, stirring, until mixture is coated with oil, about 30 seconds. Cover and cook the vegetables over low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and turn heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to turn golden. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Stir the vegetables and rice, if using, into the lentil soup. Taste for salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a spoonful of yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro.