Tag Archives: soup

Kuri Squash & Garlic Soup

2 Nov

Last weekend, I had a group of friends over to carve pumpkins. So naturally, we sat around cooking, eating, and talking instead. These are my favorite elements of any party, the only things I really care about. I made a “spooky” playlist for the iPod and a bunch of brand-new, perfect-for-Fall dishes. But I’m not blogging about any of those today. Because my fantastic, whimsical friend Lori showed up that day with a pumpkin to carve and a red kuri squash for me to try, because it looked cool.

kuri squashI’ve never seen one of these before, have you?

I opted to roast it and turn it into a soup with a few ingredients I already had lying around. Here’s how you, too, can make Friendship Squash Soup!

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Halve squash and place in a glass baking dish, cut sides down. Roast for 1 hour, until squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, let cool, then peel and discard skin. Scrape out seeds and set aside to roast, if desired.* Resist the urge to taste gooey, marshallowey black stuff that has oozed from the squash, as it tastes horrible and is likely carcinogenic. No really – don’t eat it. Mash the squash into a Tupperware container and refrigerate for two days, until you can get around to finishing this very simple soup.

2) Roughly chop 1/2 red or white onion leftover in your fridge. Saute with 1 clove of elephant garlic or 2-3 cloves of regular garlic, and about 2 tsp roughly chopped ginger root until the onions are translucent and soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in mashed, cooked squash.

elephant garlic

3) Transfer mixture to a food processor and squeeze in the juice of 1 lime. With the processor running, slowly pour in 2 cups vegetable stock. Season to taste. Then, because the soup isn’t spicy enough and you are obsessed with garlic, roughly chop and add in some raw garlic (1/2 elephant clove or 1 regular). Key point!

4) Serve warm and garnish with toasted pine nuts or roasted squash seeds. Serves 4.

kuri squash & garlic soup

*And as an added bonus, check out this recipe roundup from The Kitchn: 12 Things To Do with Pumpkin Seeds

Such a lovely snack for work! I could get addicted to these…

roasted squash seeds


VegWeek Day 4, Spicy-Sweet Butternut Chili

28 Sep

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
-Albert Einstein

VegWeek_2011 Aside from being cruel to animals, the grand-scale farming practices of today are destroying the earth. A few stats for you, courtesy of Peta:

*According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30 percent of the Earth’s land mass. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals, and according to scientists at the Smithsonian Institution, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed worldwide every minute to create more room for farmed animals.

*Raising animals for food is grossly inefficient. While people around the world are starving, more than 70 percent of the grain and cereals that we grow in this country are fed to farmed animals. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat, and even fish on fish farms must be fed up to 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce 1 pound of farmed fish flesh.

*It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons. You save more water by not eating a pound of meat than you do by not showering for six months! A totally vegan diet requires only 300 gallons of water per day, while a typical meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.

*It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein.

*According to Greenpeace, all the wild animals and trees in more than 2.9 million acres of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil were destroyed in the 2004-2005 crop season in order to grow crops that are used to feed chickens and other animals in factory farms.

*According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the runoff from factory farms pollutes our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. There are no meaningful federal guidelines that regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of concentrated, untreated animal excrement they produce each year. This waste may be left to rot in huge lagoons or sprayed over crop fields; both of these disposal methods result in runoff that contaminates the soil and water and kills fish and other wildlife. The concentration of parasites, bacteria, and chemical contaminants in animal excrement can wreak havoc on the ecosystems affected by farm runoff and can sicken people who live near these farms.

*Many of the millions of pounds of excrement and other bodily waste produced by farmed animals every day in the U.S. are stored in sprawling, brown lagoons. These lagoons often seep or spill into surrounding waterways and kill massive numbers of fish and other animals. The massive amounts of feces, fish carcasses, and antibiotic-laced fish food that settle below fish farm cages also contribute to water pollution and have actually caused the ocean floor to rot in some areas.

*A Consumers Union study in Texas found that animal feedlots in the state produce more than 14 million pounds of particulate dust every year and that the dust “contains biologically active organisms such as bacteria, mold, and fungi from the feces and the feed.” The massive amounts of excrement produced by these farms emit toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into the air.

animal planet
Responsibility as spirituality – we are all connected.

“This food is the gift of the whole universe – the earth, the sky, and much hard work. May we live in a way that is worthy of this food. May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed. May we eat only foods that nourish us and prevent illness. May we accept this food for the realization of the way of understanding and love.”

-The Five Contemplations
Thich Nhat Hanh
Living Buddha, Living Christ

A few years ago, I had the good luck to hear Thich Nhat Hanh speak at USD. The subject of his talk was how to create peace in the world, but for the first half of it, he talked about mindfulness in everyday life. He talked about walking barefoot and feeling the ground under your feet. He talked about eating slowly, with attention, without distractions. He talked about meditation. He spoke softly, and people were leaving the auditorium in droves. But then, almost imperceptibly, his message became exponentially larger. He said that when we eat slowly and contemplate our food, we think about where it comes from, and we touch the suffering of the world. When we eat a cow, we see how that cow suffered. We see the enormous amounts of food and water that were spent to raise it, and all the starving people in the world who do not have food or water. Our awareness then informs our choices.

His call was for personal responsibility, and many people missed the message. I think that’s a good illustration for the world at large. Most change happens slowly, in small ways, and it begins with you and me.

for the children

Vegan Butternut Squash Chili

Recipe Source: Adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

This chili is a much more colorful and varied version of the typical meat-and-beans version you may be used to. It’s also a bit on the brothy side, kind of a cross between chili and soup.

Personally, I felt it was a bit too sweet, especially considering that the fire-roasted tomatoes and butternut squash add a little natural sweetness of their own. So I’ve omitted the agave nectar and balsamic vinegar from the original recipe, and doubled the spices. I used a poblano pepper and then ended up dumping in some Tabasco, so a combination of peppers (maybe poblano + jalapeno?) might be a good idea. And if you’re not into the heat, of course, you can try it the original way!

I also omitted the celery because I didn’t have any on-hand and don’t particularly like it, and used some fresh ginger to supplement the powdered when I ran out. Next time, I think I’ll use a trio of black, red, and white beans, rather than two cans of black. Basically – there’s a lot going on in this soup, so feel free to experiment!

vegan butternut chili

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3-6 cloves garlic, to taste, minced
2 teaspoons each: cumin, chili powder, and ginger
1 medium red or white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
3 cups gluten-free broth
1 (28-oz) can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Whole Tomatoes , diced or broken up, with juice
1 cup chopped green chiles, mild or hot, as you prefer
2 (14-oz) cans black beans , rinsed, drained
1 (14-oz) can white Northern beans , or red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
lime juice, avocado, and cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the spices, and stir to heat through for a minute. Add onions and stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients except the lime. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until chili has reached the desired consistency. Add a little more broth if needed, to thin. Cook for an hour or so until all the flavors have combined and the sauce is thickened and rich.

Before serving, squeeze in the juice from half a lime; stir. Taste test for seasoning adjustments – more lime? A pinch of salt? More heat? A touch of agave? You decide.

Serves 8-10.

Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli

12 Sep

Recipe Source: CopyKat Recipes

As a busy blogger, it sometimes happens that I cook and photograph a dish, only to store it on my computer for a year before blogging it. This happens to be such a recipe, going back to my pre-vegetarian days. I haven’t made it lately, but suspect it would be just as delicious with the ground beef left out, or a meatless substitute.

colorful Pasta e Fagioli

This soup is wonderful and hearty, perfect for a cold day, even a light lunch. I’ve ordered it, along with a salad, many times in an attempt to control my portion size at Olive Garden – the only Italian restaurant in my small hometown.

I like that this soup can serve as a one-dish meal, as it combines vegetables, protein and pasta all-in-one. Throw in a side salad and piece of crusty bread, and it’s very satisfying. This is the first “CopyKat” recipe I’ve made, and it’s pretty spot-on from what I remember ordering in the restaurant. I scaled down the ingredients to make this more manageable for home cooking.

Pasta e FagioliBon Appetit! Or as they’d say on an Italian plate, Buon Appetito!

RECIPE – Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli

2 teaspoons vegetable Oil
1 pound Ground beef
6 ounces Onion; chopped
7 ounces Carrots; slivered
7 ounces Celery; diced
24 ounces Tomatoes; canned, diced
1 cup cooked Red Kidney beans
1 cup cooked White kidney beans
44 ounces Beef stock
2 teaspoons Oregano
2 teaspoons Pepper
3 teaspoons Parsley; (fresh chopped)
1 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
24 ounces Marina Style Spaghetti sauce
4 ounces dry pasta Shell macaroni; or other pasta

Saute beef in oil in large 10-qt. pot until beef starts to brown. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, and noodles. Add chopped parsley. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.

Makes about 5 qts, serves 6.

Tip: If you want to freeze this soup, it is best when you don’t add the pasta, cooked pasta doesn’t freeze very well. If you freeze the soup you can always cook up some fresh pasta and stir it in when you are ready to serve your family.

Roasted Vegetable Soup & Homemade Croutons

23 Dec

The greatest delight of the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable.
I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recipe source: Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Well, it’s official, we’re now two days into winter. And besides cold weather and Christmas just around the bend, what that mostly means for me is a bellyache from the overwhelming amount of cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates, fudge and what-have-you everywhere in my sight. Co-workers make them, friends give them, and it would be rude not to consume them… right? Since you might be facing this dilemma as well, I thought I’d supply you with a little detox.

Soup is always a comfort on a cold winter day, and easy to eat when you have a cold. This recipe is extremely variable and can be adjusted to use whatever vegetables are in season throughout the year. For now, it’s carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.

The first time I made this recipe, I followed Ina Garten’s instructions to a tee, and wasn’t thrilled. It was too carrot-ey for me, and just overall bland.

roasted veggies

So, I halved the amount of carrots and added an eggplant.

roasted veggies

I also added a ton of flavor with my no-so-secret weapons, onion, garlic, and ginger. I think onions and garlic should appear in just about any savory dish, and especially soups, so I’m surprised Ina didn’t include them the first time around. (puzzled face)

onions, garlic, ginger

Regardless. To make this soup, you will chop the vegetables of your choice, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the onions, garlic, and ginger in a large soup pot, then transfer to a food processor and puree. When the vegetables come out of the oven, add them to the food processor and puree as well. How long you puree depends on the texture you like – I like my soup slightly chunky.

pouring stock

If you have a super-cool food processor with a pouring tube like this, slowly pour 3 cups of chicken or vegetable sock while the blade is spinning to keep the processor from jamming. If not, remove the lid and add your stock incrementally between pulses.

Just before serving, pour the mixture back into the pot and heat to warm.

Ina’s soup:
roasted vegetable soup

My soup:
roasted vegetable soup

This soup is delicious serve with some kind of bread. When I’m in a hurry, I like lightly toasted rosemary bread. In a major hurry, Breton crackers. But if I have a little more time, homemade croutons are wonderful… provided I can resist eating the oil and salt-soaked bread before toasting it! I like to use sourdough for this, but you can use any loaf you like.

sourdough loaf

Wishing you a warm and happy winter surrounded by those you love. xox

RECIPE – Roasted Vegetable Soup

2 carrots, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 eggplant
1/2 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 white onion
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brioche croutons, recipe follows
Good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, eggplant, and butternut squash in 1- to 1 1/4-inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don’t cut them too small.

Place all the cut vegetables in a large bowl or gallon-size freezer bag, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss well to coat. Spread vegetables in a single layer on 2 sheet pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and ginger in about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot for about 1 minute. Add in diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are lightly browned. Transfer onion mixture to a food processor and puree.

In two batches, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables with the onion mixture, pouring in chicken or vegetable stock to aid the food processor as you go. Pour the pureed vegetables back into the soup pot and season, to taste. Thin with more stock if desired, and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more stock and/or water until it’s the consistency you like. Serve with homemade croutons or crusty bread.

Serves 4

RECIPE – Homemade Croutons (skip if gluten-free)

1 12-ounce loaf of bread (sourdough, brioche, challah)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the bread about 3/4 inch thick. Cut off the crusts and then cut the slices in 3/4 inch dice. You should have 6 to 8 cups of croutons.

Place the croutons on a sheet pan and toss them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing once, until they are nicely browned on all sides. Cool to room temperature before using and store in a sealed plastic bag.

Chicken Noodle Soup

5 Dec

Recipe source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Ina Garten Week

“I’d like to think that when I invite friends to my house, they know what I’m *really* saying is ‘I love you; come for dinner.'” -Ina Garten

Welcome to Day 1 of Ina Garten Week! As I was skimming through this book, I noticed Ina included a lot of classic recipes that might seem simple or “everyday” to be publishing in a cookbook. And yet, I’ve never made a lot of them. Today’s post is one such example – homemade chicken noodle soup. (Jump to recipe) Not only have I not made it, I’ve never made my own chicken stock, which really is a fundamental of cooking.

With a slight wince, this realization made me think of an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. He was observing two young, untrained chefs who were making a lot of ultra fancy, high-end food (the kind in little towers on big plates with a balsamic drizzle…), but they didn’t really know much about the basics. One had never shopped for meat before, and both failed a blind taste test to distinguish the difference between beef and pork. Ouch. Finally, Gordon asked them make him an omelet, the first thing they would have learned in cooking school. One said, “I’ve never made an omelet before.” With his classic incredulous look and best sneering British accent, Gordon said, “Oh, don’t be steew-pid!”

So, here goes. I am going to de-stupid myself with a few recipes in this book, starting with chicken noodle soup.

Making homemade chicken stock

From what I can tell, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making a stock. The basics are, throw some chicken, vegetables, and seasonings into a large pot, cover with cold water, turn on the heat and let it cook until you think it’s ready.

My inspiration for making my own stock came from a knife skills class we took for my birthday. The instructor taught us to save all our vegetable scraps in a bowl when preparing our mis en place for any recipe – including onion skins, carrot peels, celery stems, garlic heels, herb trimmings, and any other vegetable we find flavorful. (A trio of carrots, onions, and celery is the basis for most soups and stocks, and is called a mirepoix.) Freeze these in large Ziploc bags, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to make a stock. I have also started freezing my veggies just before they turn, if I can tell I won’t have the time or energy to cook with them. I hate throwing away food, and this habit has been a relief to my conscience! Sometimes life just gets in the way after I do my grocery shopping… and unless you’re Martha Stewart or June Cleaver, I imagine you can relate. 🙂


If you’re making a chicken stock, there are a few options. You can use a storebought rotisserie chicken, as this article suggests, or use the scrap bones, skin, and innards from a bird you’ve carved yourself. I did the latter, after spontaneously deciding to buy and de-bone three whole chickens one night, with nothing more than an online video to guide me. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong, but it was a surprisingly empowering experience!

I was also excited to finally unearth this beautiful Williams-Sonoma pot my mother gave me, which has been sitting for years in its box. This was the perfect pot for making a stock – 8 quarts, with an inner pot for straining pasta, or in this case, chicken and veggies. If you don’t have a pot like this, you can line your pot with cheesecloth to making straining easier.

So to begin, add your chicken, veggies, herbs, salt and pepper into your stock pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a slow boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for a few hours, taste-testing as you go, until the stock is flavorful. You will want to skim the chicken’s white fat from the surface periodically. How concentrated you make the stock is a matter of personal preference, but if it is strong, always remember you can water it down later.

To store, you can strain the stock into several Tupperware containers, freeze, then transfer to gallon-size freezer bags until needed. Ice cube trays can also be handy for freezing small amounts of stock. One thing I learned – as the stock cools, a layer of fat will rise to the surface. It is easier to skim this off while the stock is still liquid, so let the stock cool at room temp or in the fridge, if possible. I made my stock at night and wanted to sleep, so it cooled in the freezer. It was slightly more difficult to scrape the fat off the frozen stock.

Making chicken noodle soup

I hope the above doesn’t sound intimidating, because it’s really not, and it’s so worthwhile. After years of fighting with nasty bouillon cubes that would never dissolve and were undoubtedly filled with sodium and preservatives, I smelled my homemade stock and it smelled like chicken noodle soup all by itself! So warm and comforting, I had forgotten what that smell was like. And once you’ve made your stock, the rest of the soup is a breeze.

In a large pot, warm two quarts of chicken stock, then add carrots, celery, and wide egg noodles. I used “No Yolks” brand egg noodles in my recipe, as they have no added cholesterol. In the ten minutes these are cooking, you can prepare your chicken.

Ina Garten suggests roasting a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, but frankly, I don’t see the point. Finding bone-in, skin-on chicken breast can be difficult, and it’s easy to over-roast and dry out your chicken in the oven. My preferred method is to filet a boneless, skinless breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook through in a pan with a little oil over medium heat, then pull with a fork along the natural lines of the breast to shred. It will look like this.

Once the noodles are fully cooked, add the cooked chicken and parley to the pot and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve up a big bowl of this comforting goodness!

RECIPE – Chicken Noodle Soup

Forget canned soup – this is the real thing. And wouldn’t we all feel better after eating a bowl? I love having homemade chicken stock in the freezer so I can make this soup in a hurry.

1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups wide egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add the celery, carrots, and noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley and heat through.

Season to taste and serve.

Serves 6

Roasted Butternut & Curry Soup

5 Oct

Recipe Source: Esalen Cookbook: Healthy and Organic Recipes from Big Sur © 2006 Charlie Cascio

This is a recipe I found after checking out the Esalen cookbook, after falling in love with another of its soups I found on 101 Cookbooks, and after falling in love with Esalen itself. I went to Esalen on a three-day retreat after graduating college, when a lot of life changes were going on for me, much bigger than just entering “the real world” post-academia. It was a place of healing and hope, a tiny, nurturing world of its own hidden away in the mist of Big Sur, and it will always hold a very dear place in my heart. I hope to go back one day. In the meantime, I have my memories, one being the lovely garden and the sensual, wholesome food prepared from it. I don’t know if I had this soup there, but maybe one day I will. For now, I’ll be content to make it at home.

butternut curry soup
RECIPE – Roasted Butternut & Curry Soup

Most people have eaten butternut squash without knowing it. The canned pumpkin that is found in the supermarket that a lot of people make pumpkin pie out of is, in all honesty, butternut squash. Butternut has an exceptionally good flavor and a creamy texture. Roasting concentrates the sugars and flavor of this orange-fleshed winter squash. The spicy curry and the creaminess of the coconut milk give this soup another dynamic.

1 large butternut squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium-size onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons curry powder
3 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons sea salt
3 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Sunflower seed for garnish (optional)

Place a large butternut on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F. Roast for about 1 hour; it is done when you can stick a knife into the squash and there is no resistance (it goes through like butter). Split the squash in half; scoop out and discard the seeds. Scoop out the pulp and set aside.

Place oil in a 6-quart soup pot over high heat and sauté onion until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the celery and curry powder and sauté until the celery is tender. Turn heat down to medium and add the butternut pulp, coconut milk, salt, and stock or water. Blend with a hand mixer or whisk by hand until you have a smooth consistency. Heat until soup is hot, add cilantro, and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

For an excellent taste, add chunks of fresh goat cheese or fresh cream to the soup before serving.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

24 Apr

Recipe source: 101 Cookbooks

Today it’s warm and beautiful outside, in the high 70s, but it rained for three days last week. So, I have decided that spring is the most capricious of the seasons – the weather can’t decide if it wants to be winter or summer! The days are probably running out for making this recipe, but I think it’s still perfect for colder days. And as for the hot days, you could argue that this soup is light, so you will feel nourished after eating it, without feeling weighed down. Anyway, you should make it. The combination of coconut milk, toasted curry, and fresh, spicy ginger just makes me happy inside. I’m so grateful to Heidi at 101 Cookbooks for posting it on her blog. I wouldn’t change a thing! Except maybe doubling it. 🙂  (Jump straight to recipe.)

The recipe uses yellow split peas and red split lentils. I bought mine in bulk at Henry’s. The nice thing about lentils is you don’t have to soak them overnight like you would beans, so this recipe doesn’t require a lot of advance prep.


First, you will rinse the peas and lentils as you would rice, until the water runs clear. Then add them to a large soup pot with 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a diced carrot (or two… or three) and some fresh ginger. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, toast curry powder in a small skillet, and saute butter, green onions, ginger, golden raisins, and tomato paste in another skillet. Now. I feel compelled to tell you at this point that you might want to buy some pre-packaged raisins. The second time we made this soup, we used raisins we bought in bulk, and they were almost twice the size of the raisins I’m used to buying. “Score!” you might think. Except that in the finished soup, when you bite into one that has reconstituted to the size of a green grape, you will find it odd, if even a little disturbing. The sweet addition is nice in the recipe, but grapes – I think not.

Lastly, add the toasted curry powder, tomato paste mixture, coconut milk, and salt to the lentils. Simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the soup has reduced to a desired consistency. If you prefer a “soupier” soup, you can add warm water incrementally.


We served this soup with a nutty, oaty toasted brown bread, but you can also serve it with brown rice, as Heidi suggests.

RECIPE – Coconut Red Lentil Soup
1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped
cooked brown rice or farro, for serving (optional)

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse, until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime, in a small dry skillet or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is quite fragrant. Be careful though, you don’t want to burn the curry powder, just toast it. Set aside. Place the butter in a pan over medium heat, add half of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more.

Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time, if you like. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. The thicker this soup got, the more I liked it.

Sprinkle each bowl generously with cilantro and the remaining green onions.

Serves 6.