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A Pantry-Clearing, Belly-Warming Lentil and Chickpea Soup

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Two nights ago in preparation for the impending blizzard, my neighbor made a big pot of soup to share with friends. When she dropped it off, she told me it had become her favorite recipe for vegan lentil soup, noting, with a wink, that she always makes it with chicken stock.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

My family devoured the soup that evening, and the next day, during the blizzard, I found myself needing more. I later learned that the recipe is an extremely popular one on the vegetarian cooking blog COOKIE + Kate, and I was pleased to discover I had nearly everything on hand to make it: onions, carrots, garlic, crushed tomatoes, lentils, spices, and (chicken) stock.

I set to work dicing and chopping, measuring and stirring, and before I knew it, the soup was simmering away. Continuing the trend of cleaning out my vegetable bin and pantry, I went a step further and dumped in the chickpeas I had cooked over the weekend.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

I’ve since made this lentil soup with canned chickpeas, which work just as well as cooked-from-scratch, and water in place of chicken stock. (That works, too.) I now have masses of soup on hand to share with my neighbor, to return the favor.

Photo by Alexandra Stafford

A few notes:

Lentils: Use any variety you like, but know that the type you use will determine the texture of the soup. Red lentils break down almost completely, which I like, especially in combination with the chickpeas. French green lentils will remain intact, and brown lentils will also hold their shape well.

Chickpeas: You don't have to use them—the original recipe does not call for them—but I like the texture they add. If you start with dried, use 8 ounces, which will yield about 4 cups cooked. Two 15-ounce cans, drained, work just fine, too.

Seasonings: As written, the dominant flavor of the soup is curry, but the flavors could easily be tailored to your liking. For more of a kick, increase the pepper flakes. For more smoke, use more cumin or smoked paprika. Coriander would also be nice here.

Curried Chickpea and Red Lentil Soup

Curried Chickpea and Red Lentil Soup

Alexandra Stafford Alexandra Stafford
Serves 6 to 8
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion diced, 1.25-1.5 cups
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced, 1.25-1.5 cups
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, see notes above
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • fresh pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas, or two 15-oz cans, drained
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or lemon to taste, see notes above
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
Go to Recipe
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Pantry, Bean, Chickpea, Lentil, Weeknight Cooking