Get in My Belly: Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup (Slow-Cooker)

This recipe for lentil soup came to me in a bit of recipe-related serendipity.

See, we were unusually low on groceries, but I had this 1-pound bag of brown lentils and a green pepper, so I thought some soup would be good for dinner, as it would last a couple days until I got to the store. I hadn’t yet decided what direction I was going to go with it, seasoning-wise, and then this recipe appeared in the newspaper that morning. At any given time, I have a gerbillion spices in the house, so despite not having a lot of other ingredients, this worked out quite well. Here is how I adapted the recipe:

Bowl of Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup
It cooks up a little thick with the amount of broth used, but one could puree part of it, if they were looking for a different texture.

Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup

  • 1 pound lentils (around 2-2 1/2 cups, I used regular brown ones)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice (aka, I had that much hanging around and decided to toss it in)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (though I was out and used around 3 tbsp. canola)
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro (or fresh, if you have it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Give everything a good stir and let it cook in the slow-cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the bay leaves before serving. It’s also good with a dollop of sour cream stirred in, or I’m sure plain yogurt would also work well. This makes around 8-10 not-small servings. It also tastes very good the next day.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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