Spicy & Thrifty Indian Lentil Soup

It’s finally cold here. I forgot my hat this morning, and after a particularly nippy walk back from the tube this evening with my ears frosting over, I won’t be doing that again! 

Fortunately I had already made a giant pot of this delicious soup yesterday, so all I needed to do was re-heat it, toast some bread and enjoy its spicy, cozy warmth. 

This isn’t a smooth, creamy dhal style soup, made from split yellow lentils with a mellow and gentle spice, but rather a more punchy soup inspired by rich Indian Curries, and is made with little brown lentils, rich with garlic, ginger, cumin, a hit of chilli and a very generous amount of garam masala and with the added texture of carrot, greens, tomatoes and onions. The spices really do make this soup extra special, so be generous when adding them. I like to bash them whole in a mortar and pestle, which is A) satisfying and B) means they’re fresher and are subsequently more potent. Sizzling them for a few moments before adding in the water also really enhances their flavour. 


This is a soup that is deeply warming with a satisfying mouth texture to each delicious spoonful. It’s even better the next day, and perfect for freezing too. 

This deliciously spicy Indian style soup is also ridiculously thrifty to make as well as being protein & nutrient rich. A 500g bag of lentil costs just £1.25 which means  that even with the added veggies and assuming you have most of the spices, this recipe will cost you barely more than £5.00 to make, and serves 6 generously. Or two with loads for leftovers and enough to freeze for another day.

 Soak it up with some chapatis or naan bread and enjoy its yummy, spicy warmth. 

Indian Spicy Lentil Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Louise-Claire Cayzer
  • 500 g brown lentils
  • 1 large onion , finely diced,
  • 1 medium carrot , finely diced,
  • 400 g fresh or tinned tomatoes
  • 5 or 6 large leaves chard , kale or 1 bunch spinach, stems removed and cut into strips.
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 cm of grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (go as spicy as you dare!)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam marsala
  • 2 teaspoons vegan stock or boullion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil or olive oil
  • 1 litre water- plus more as needed
  1. In a large saucepan, gently sautee the onions and carrot with the oil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mortar & pestle bash together the garlic, ginger cumin, and coriander seeds until nice and blended.- If you use cumin & coriander powder just finely mince the garlic.
  3. Tip all the lentils into the onion mix, along with all the spices and mix. Let sizzle for a few moments until it all smells AMAZING.
  4. Tip in the tomatoes, water and boullion/stock powder.
  5. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for at least half an hour.
  6. Add more water as needed- I find every pack needs a bit of a different amount of water- , tasting and adding extra spices if you feel it needs it.
  7. Once the lentils are deliciously squishy (This is no place for lentils that bite back!) Add in the greens and cook for a few minutes until soft.
  8. Taste for salt and pepper.
  9. Serve with naan or chapati bread and enjoy..

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