Recipes for Kim: Spiced lentil soup

This spiced lentil soup recipe is part of a personal project, Recipes For Kim, where a reader has sent me a list of the ingredients in her kitchen cupboard and I promised to write some recipes around them. These aren’t costed, as this isn’t my kitchen cupboard, but I will add them to the Below The Line recipe section over the next few days…

Recipes for Kim: Spiced lentil soup

1tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small red chilli or pinch of the dried stuff
400g chopped tomatoes
2 cups red lentils

In a medium heavy based saucepan, gently heat the oil.

Finely slice the carrots and onion, and cook on a low heat, stirring to soften.

Add the cumin and chopped chilli.

When the onions have started to soften, pour over the chopped tomatoes, and add the lentils. Add four cups of water for every cup of lentils. Stir, and turn the heat up to bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils have swollen.

Serve chunky or blend until smooth.

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe. Find me on Facebook at

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Categories: Recipes & Food

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  1. Lovely..we had something rather similar for our lunch today as I wanted to use up veg in the fridge…almost identical recipe but instead of lentils I had oven roasted a red pepper and blended in with everything else…soups are very versatile and filling especially with a hunk of homemade bread

  2. I think I love you, Jack. I hope Kim is feeling as supported and cuddled by this kindness as I think I would be, in her shoes x

  3. I do the following spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup which uses less ingredients, so will stretch her supplies further- I don’t do it be measurements as such…:

    grated carrot (2 large/3 small)
    red lentils (1 small cup)
    1 ltr veg stock
    2 tsp cumin powder/seeds
    Pinch of chilli flakes / powder
    natural yoghurt (optional)

    If using cumin seeds and chilli flakes dry fry for about 1 minute. Take a spoonful out and set aside.

    Add grated carrot, lentils and veg stock to the pan. If using cumin and chilli powder add now. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

    Once cooked (lentils will be swollen and soft) blend to desired consistency (chunky/ smooth).

    Season to taste.

    Serve in bowl with a dollop of yoghurt (optional) and sprinkle over the chilli seeds which were held back.

  4. Just made this with a few changes. Left out the tomatoes as they don’t really go with lentils, substituted the cumin for ground mixed spice, added some dried chilli flakes, a clove of garlic and used a chicken rather than a vegi stock cube. Served with some croutons made by frying some cubed stale bread in a tsp of oil. Delicious, and enough left for 2 more lunches.

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