Comfort Food: Karen Parkman’s Spiced Red Lentil Soup

Pair with: The Red Studio by Henri Matisse

Click here for the full interview with Karen Parkman, including movie picks!

Spiced Red Lentil Soup

1–2 tablespoons oil or butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeño, de-seeded and diced (leave in the seeds for an extra spicy kick)

1 two-inch piece of ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon garam masala (curry powder, or chili powder, also work great)

¾ cup lentils of your choice (I prefer red lentils)

1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes

1 16-oz can coconut milk

salt and pepper to taste


optional garnishes:

dollop of yogurt or sour cream

chopped cilantro or mint

lime wedges

feta cheese



Heat the oil/butter over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, jalapeño, ginger, and garlic, stirring frequently, about 6–8 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala (or substitute) and let cook for about a minute. Add in the lentils and stir, then add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Fill the empty coconut milk can with water and add that in as well.

Cook until lentils are finished and soup is desired thickness, about 20–25 minutes. Salt and pepper and add desired garnishes.

This soup is endlessly adaptable! If you like, throw in some extra chopped vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or potato, when you add the lentils. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time to ensure your additions are cooked through.

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