Make Ahead

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

February 17, 2015
9 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 57 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This soup is from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 1/2 cups good-tasting vegetable broth or water
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch Fine sea salt
  • 1 handful Small cubes paneer, pan-fried in ghee or coconut oil, for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly for a couple of minutes until the onions soften.
  2. Pour in the vegetable broth and the lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender; start checking after 20 minutes, but keep it mind that it may take as long as 50 minutes.

  3. While the lentils cook, heat the 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir it constantly with a rubber spatula until it starts to foam and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and sauté until the mixture is very fragrant, just 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.
  4. When the lentils have finished cooking, take the pot off the heat and stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
  5. Purée the soup using an immersion blender, or transfer it in batches to a blender or food processor. I left the soup slightly chunky, but you can also purée it until it's very smooth (and strain it if you're looking for an even silkier texture).
  6. Stir in half of the curried butter and taste the soup for salt, adding more as needed. Serve the soup drizzled with the remaining curried butter and with cubes of pan-fried paneer, if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vanessa Wallace
    Vanessa Wallace
  • Adrienne
  • sylvia kinnee
    sylvia kinnee
  • Jen
  • Joe Morelli
    Joe Morelli

22 Reviews

Z January 29, 2021
This was delicious! Only change I made was omitting the coconut milk and leaving it chunky.
Vanessa W. March 24, 2020
Loved this soup I had a ham bone in the freezer and used leeks, diced carrots as well as split peas and barley. Coconut cream added richness...didn’t blend I like the chunkiness. Will make again the family ate it all👍
Tinaindenver November 9, 2019
I made it last night and included the paneer because I had some in the freezer. Very good.
SUSAN R. October 9, 2017
Great recipe. Made this am - first snow day of the season in CO.
kelly January 25, 2017
Love this recipe!
Adrienne January 23, 2017
I made this tonight during a terrible rain storm and it was absolute perfection. Put my Penzey "The Now Curry" to good use. Great week night dinner I will be making again!
Julie M. September 23, 2016
Has anyone tried making 'brown butter' with Earth Balance vegan butter? I can't do dairy anymore, and I have an aversion to wasting ingredients if I don't have to!
Jeff P. September 29, 2016
Hi Julie,

Browned butter is "browned" by the milk solids in the butter being toasted when heated, so alas, vegan butter would not have the necessary milk solids to be able to brown.

Now, could one make "browned vegan butter" by taking oil and adding a vegan-appropriate item and toasting it? I would think so, but haven't researched that or dug into the literature. I would think something similar could be done -- perhaps using a small amount of flour in fat, almost like a roux. Maybe someone else knows?
sylvia K. June 14, 2016
Loved this unique soup which I made with split peas. May do what Gabrielle did and add the curry powder powder while cooking the onions. The butter gave me heartburn :(.
Lil October 22, 2015
Sauteed ricotta salata in coconut oil.. Could not get paneer. Went generous with spices. Did not have chives. Used green part of scallions. Delish
Jen October 4, 2015
Just made this and it was delicious. I'm not sure what the consistency is supposed to be but it was far too much like porridge (very thick!) and I added an additional cup plus a little of vegetable broth. Lovely! Will make again and experiment with spices.
Joe M. September 29, 2015
This recipe is amazing as is ... and is clearly just as amazing with just about any variation you could throw at it. I had a little bag of baharat that I used in place of the curry powder - the warmth of the allspice and cinnamon really made it perfect for these rainy fall evenings ...
cupcakemuffin April 26, 2015
So good! We made this with split peas and garam masala in place of the curry powder to pack in lunches. It turned out amazing! Love the flavor. :) And if you can't find paneer, creamy goat cheese is also really yummy.
Gabrielle April 14, 2015
This was delicious - thank you! I added the curry powder while I was cooking the onions, because I knew I didn't want to do the butter on top. It worked very well. A new favourite.
Dana April 4, 2015
Made this with green split peas and it was so delicious. Love the curried brown butter!
Asaracoglu March 16, 2015
Delicious!! The whole family loved it!
Elizabeth March 4, 2015
Made this soup last night: actually modified an existing pot of green lentil soup,
added some garam masala and curry, and juice of 1/2 lime to the butter sauce.
It perked it up. We are snowbound, and used ingredients at hand, as store is
30 miles away. It is a tasty version/modification, after 3 days of lentil soup.
Leth B. February 23, 2015
This is the first lentil soup recipe I have enjoyed!! Thank you so much for sharing .. It is delish !!!
Sarah J. February 23, 2015
So great to hear that!
Rachel C. February 22, 2015
This was so great, just made it with garam masala instead of curry powder.
ducksandbooks February 19, 2015
would this work with red lentils?
Sarah J. February 20, 2015
I think they would work nicely, though red lentils tend to break down to more of a paste than green lentils do. You might have to add some water or broth to loosen up the soup! For reference, Heidi has a red lentil soup that contains curry powder and coconut milk, too!