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Spiced Vegetarian Lentil Soup Recipe {Secret Recipe Club}

by Jeanette on September 19, 2011 · 25 Comments
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Today is “reveal day” for Group B of the Secret Recipe Club, created by Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin. So far, everything I’ve tried for the Secret Recipe Club has come out really well, including Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries, Anzac Cookies, and Seven-Layer Dip. This club has grown so rapidly that Amanda has created four different groups that have a different reveal day during each month. I am part of Group B, hosted by Tina of Moms Crazy Cooking. The idea behind the Secret Recipe Club is to give bloggers the chance to try each other’s recipes without the other bloggers knowing it until everyone posts their results.

This month I was assigned to Theresa of Island Vittles. Theresa lives a life that I dream of (more often than not lately!). You see, I live in a community full of type “A” personalities, and as the years have gone on, at the end of each summer, I dread returning to all the craziness of sports and academics. Watching all the over-the-top coaches and “helicopter” parents on the sidelines, I seriously wonder where all this is leading the next generation to.Which leads me to Theresa of Island Vittles…who lives on Pender Island, a small island on the west coast of British Columbia with a population of about 2000 people. Although she grew up with a passion for food, Theresa started off in business school and worked at Fedex before she realized her true dream was cooking.  Eight years ago, she moved to Pender Island for a more peaceful, less stressful life.  On Island Vittles, not only will you find a nice variety of recipes, but island stories as well about Theresa’s life on Pender Island. Her latest post with a video of their annual Fall Fair will give you a better idea of what it’s like to live on Pender Island.

As I looked through Island Vittles’ recipe index, I spotted a Red Lentil Soup recipe and knew that I had to try it. Red lentils are one of my favorite legumes in soups. They break down and become creamy when cooked long enough. Last year, I made a simple Red Lentil Soup and taught seniors how to make it during a series of soup classes. Theresa’s lentil soup recipe uses lots of spices, including cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, right up my alley.

As Theresa suggested, I pureed this lentil soup into a smooth blend instead of leaving it chunky. I used an immersion blender at first, but ended up putting the soup into a blender to get it extra smooth. This soup was pretty spicy (I love it hot!) so if you’re not into heat, halve the cayenne pepper.

I served this Spiced Lentil Soup with some coconut milk to take away some of the heat. To add some texture and interest to the soup (and to make it more photo friendly), I took an idea I found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table cookbook and topped the soup with a contrasting garnish – crunchy apples and toasted walnuts. Apparently in France, a bowl of soup is accompanied by some crunchies in the bottom of the bowl before pouring the soup, or on top of the soup.  

Spiced Vegetarian Red Lentil Soup

This soup is fairly spicy and quite thick, so halve the cayenne pepper for a milder soup, and add more stock if you like. I would highly recommend drizzling some coconut milk and sprinkling some crunchy apples and toasted walnuts on top.

Vegetarian Lentil Apple Soup

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, diced
  • 3/4 cup yam, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnishes: coconut milk, chopped apples, toasted walnuts


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Sweat the leek, celery, carrot and yam until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, lentils, spices, bay leaves and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and the lentils are breaking apart.
  7. Remove from heat, remove bay leaves and use an immersion blender or blender to puree until smooth.
  8. Reheat gently, season with salt and pepper.
  9. Garnish with coconut milk, chopped apples and toasted walnuts.


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  1. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says:

    This looks amazing! Can't wait to make it this fall

  2. LaPhemmePhoodie says:

    I'm one of those people that adds pepper or hot sauce to almost everything. Love that this soup is full of veggies and spices. Always fun to read other SRC posts. Beautiful pics Jeanette!

  3. This is so funny – I just cooked up a bunch of lentils yesterday and was thinking I would make a batch of lentil soup. This one looks different from my usual soup. I love trying something different!


    I ADORE lentil soup. This is going on the menu this week. :)

  5. The flavors in that soup sound so good.

  6. I always have a hard time knowing what to do with lentils, so I'm definitely bookmarking this one!

  7. Isabelle @ Crumb says:

    I was just thinking to myself that I need to make a pot of lentil soup now that the weather is cooling off, and this one sounds just fabulous. Love the apple and walnut topping… so perfect for fall!

  8. Island Vittles says:

    Thank you Jeanette for this lovely post about Island Vittles and my red lentil soup. I love the addition of coconut milk, and your garnishes are perfect! Theresa

  9. This looks like a great recipe. It is fun cooking with you in the SRC. Hope you are having a great day and thanks for sharing!
    Miz Helen

  10. Healthy and delicious! I love lentils.

  11. Such wonderful flavors, I'll be making this soup. Your pictures are gorgeous.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group "A" SRC recipe this month: Welsh Cakes.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  12. This looks absolutely delicious. Gorgeous photos too!

  13. SweetSugarBelle says:

    This is SOOOOOOOOOOOo unexpected! I was thinking chunky carrots and lentils! What a pleasant surprise. I will HAVE to try this recipe!

  14. This is a hearty soup, I simply have to try this!

  15. Delicious and beautiful soup. Can't wait to try this one this winter. SRC is such a great way to find all of these wonderful recipes.

  16. I just love that you garnished this delightful soup with apple and walnut – wonderful! So excited that it's soup season…

  17. This looks like an awesome vegetarian soup. I've got to try it!

  18. Yum! Looks great — I'm loving SRC, so many new recipes to try!

  19. Jeanette love this look delicious!!! gloria

  20. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free says:

    Oh my gosh! I love the idea of pureeing this soup. My kids like a lot of things, but lentils are just not on the top of that list. This would be a brilliant way to get them to eat them! I love the idea of this secret recipe club, by the way. How fun!!

  21. I love a soup with a kick! Looks great!

  22. France@beyondthepeel says:

    Jeanette, that is one fine looking soup. Heck Theresa's almost a neighbor, just a hope off this little to hers. Thank you for introduces us, I'll head over right now. The soup sounds amazing.

  23. Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING says:

    Great Looking Soup Recipe!

    And thank you for being a part of the SRC with me (group b). I am excited and looking forward to next month too!

    Here is what I posted this month: Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie

  24. Vivian - Let's Try These... says:

    WOW! I must try this soup out! Nice choice for the SRC!

  25. Feast on the Cheap says:

    Yum, yours look so rich and creamy! Lentil soup is one of my favorite fall lunches

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