Sassy & Spicy Lentil Soup Recipe

For pictures & great commentary, see this recipe on SneakyVegan here.


  • 1 cup lentils 
  • 8 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 8oz canned tomatoes with juice 
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion 
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1 small carrot (peeled) 
  • 1 rib celery 
  • 1 red pepper


  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric OR 1 teaspoon curry powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (with more, to taste, at the end) 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 

Finishing touches:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced 
  • 1/4 cup vegan sour cream (try Tofutti Sour Supreme) 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 


Mix the spices together in a small bowl and set them aside.

In a BIG pot, sauté half the onion with one clove of garlic in one tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Stir it occasionally so you don't burn the garlic. When the onion and garlic are nicely translucent, add half the spice mixture and cook for one minute. Add the lentils and the water.

When the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and allow this mixture to simmer until tender, about 25-30 minutes or so.

While that's going on, sauté the rest of the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a separate skillet, also on medium heat.

Next, add the carrot and celery and cook until the carrot and celery start to soften. They don't have to be totally soft as they'll be cooking in the soup soon enough. Add the red pepper pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Then throw in the rest of the spices and stir it up for a couple more minutes.

Now, toss it all into the pot of lentils, which should be tender by now. Mix in the tomatoes (with juice) and let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Add salt if so desired.

A tip from the crew at SneakyVegan:  just before serving the soup, stir in the finely-diced ginger and stir it in well. Cook for a few moments more. Apparently this keeps the taste of ginger "bright". Season to taste.

Serve it up and top with a small dollop of [vegan] sour cream and a little bit of chopped cilantro.

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