Lentil Soup with Coriander and Cumin

by on November 12, 2012
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Lentil Soup with Coriander and Cumin

Is there a word for when the wind sends the autumn leaves swirling in the driveway, orange blurring with gold, like calico cats chasing their tails? Well, there should be. Though it was unusually warm, yesterday looked like the classic fall day, leaves both bright and brown raining down, revealing the gray bones of the trees. I was out harvesting jalapeno peppers, the last of our summer vegetables, when something about their bright greenness amid all the reds and golds of fall made me stop, pull out my phone, and take a photo:

Jalapenos

The colors also reminded me of one of my favorite lentil soups, which you may remember as Rainy Day Lentil Soup. I’ve created almost a dozen lentil soup variations, but this is the soup I think of when I hear the words “lentil soup,” and it’s the only brown lentil soup I make that’s seasoned with coriander and cumin–just faintly, not enough spice to rival Middle Eastern Red Lentil Soup or Ethiopian Inspired Red Lentil Soup, just a subtle hint that’s warming and inviting on a blustery fall day.

I realized as I was making the soup that I’ve actually changed the recipe slightly over the years. I always increase the amounts of onion, potatoes, and carrots and add a little extra seasoning to the pot near the end. The results are a chunkier soup, almost a stew. I didn’t want to just change the original recipe because so many of you have told me you love it, so I’m presenting my updated version here. The quickest and easiest way I’ve found to make it is to use an electric pressure cooker, such as the Fagor Multicooker, which I use, or the Instant Pot, which some people prefer for its stainless steel inner pot. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make this hearty soup in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. It will probably be even easier in a slow cooker, though I haven’t tried that. Let me know in the comments if you have and what settings you used.

Lentil Soup with Coriander and Cumin

Do I Have a Recipe for Lentil Soup?!

Ridiculously Easy Lentil Soup
Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dandelion Greens
Ridiculously Easy Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Red Lentil Soup with Vadouvan
Italian Lentil and Vegetable Soup
French Lentil and Portabella Stew

Choose one to enjoy!

Susan

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gloria Huerta November 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

I love lentils. By the way, that´s one of the Mexican ways of eating lentils.

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2 shirley gordon November 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

how about a veggie meatloaf that does NOT fall apart and can really be sliced

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3 Susan Voisin November 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Have you tried Dreena’s No-fu Loaf? Slices perfectly. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/04/dreenas-no-fu-love-loaf.html

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4 narf7 November 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Usually I wouldn’t look twice at green/brown lentil soup. I tend to stick with the smaller red lentils that dissolve and that don’t give soup that muddy brown look BUT this soup looks fantastic. I think it’s the combination of larger chunks of vegetables that give it more of a bright vibrant look and make it look hearty and more stew like. This would be fantastic with some chunky Italian ciabatta torn into bits and eaten with it. Thank you for a miracle recipe…one that might see me eat my first brown/green lentil in 2 decades! :)

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5 Laura April 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

As a long-time semi-vegetarian, I had never thought that brown/green lentils looked “muddy/dirty”. They were just regular to me, and I love them. Good thing to think about when serving non-veggie relatives. Thanks.

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6 urbanvegan November 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Gorgeous, healthy autumnal soup. Susan, your photos are always so inviting.

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7 Cheryl November 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm

This looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it. I’d love to make the bread pictured above to go with it. Will you share the recipe? If it is already here, what is it called?
I just had your confetti cornbread this past week. Yum…

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8 Susan Voisin November 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Unfortunately, I bought the bread so I don’t have a recipe for it. I tend not to bake bread because I’ll wind up eating too much of it.

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9 Vicky November 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

This looks sooo warming! I love lentils!

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10 acd6pack November 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Looks like another great recipe! Yum and with the cold weather, you’re right, this is the soup we need. Can I suggest that you suggest to Shirley who asked about a meatloaf, to try Dreena’s No-fu Love Loaf that you posted a while back. It is very good and slices nicely. Freezes well too!

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11 Susan Voisin November 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thanks! I was thinking the same thing about Dreena’s loaf.

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12 Cheryl November 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Susan, thanks for the reply!
I have onions, celery and carrots which I love to put in a brown rice pilaf, so I’ll serve that with your recipe. I’m making it tomorrow, cant wait!

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13 Barb C November 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

This will be tonight’s supper!! I love lentils and this sounds great. I have some baby portabellos I need to use up which I’ll add to it. Off to the kitchen!

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14 lani November 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I made this with the addition of rasam powder..I happen to love spicy food and this gives a whole new dimension to it. I actually have been adding it to everything I make. I picked up this powder in Sri Lanka but you can easily get it in the States..

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15 Susan Voisin November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

I will have to look around for rasam powder. That’s a spice I haven’t tried yet!

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16 sowji November 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Susan,

Rasam is a south indian (Indian sub continent) tamarind broth based soup.There are many versions of this of which tomato rasam and pepper rasam are most popular. Culturally rasam is served with white rice(You will have to thorrowly mash the rice and pour rasam over it). Rasam is also partaken all by itself in a glass when someone is sick since it is supposed to be easily digested food and pepper has medicinal values for sore throat and cold.

http://www.sailusfood.com/2009/11/03/rasam-spiced-tamarind-soup/

PS:

You can readymade rasam powder at any of the indian grocery stores for under $2. Priya brnad and MTR brand are popular

Here is my fav rasam receipe:

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17 lani November 19, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I didn’t know the rest of the info about rasam..I will definitely try the soup! Thank you!

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18 Lisa November 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I made this tonight and boy, oh boy, was it good!! This is perhaps my favorite lentil soup, tied with the red lentil and collard soup recipe I got from allrecipes.com. I prepared it in my Instant Pot. Thanks for this very flavorful recipe.

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19 Susan Voisin November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

I’m so glad you liked it, Lisa!

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20 Allysia November 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Totally pinning this recipe, Susan – green lentil soup is the best ever! And cumin and coriander just smell so beautiful. Heaven!

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21 Dawn November 13, 2012 at 6:52 am

Yum! I think I will try this in the crock pot. It is cool and crisp here and time for soup! This weekend I made roasted brussels sprouts off one of your recipes. I added a ton of garlic because I had it and it needed to be used. Delicious!
Then I baked your Pumpkin Bread and made it without oil into muffins. I was a baking machine. Thanks for the yumminess!

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22 The Nomad November 13, 2012 at 7:58 am

I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been craving a lentil stew but was hesitant to jump into it. Thanks for the recipe.

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23 Erica November 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

This looks amazing! Perfect thing for a cold day.

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24 moonwatcher November 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hi Susan,

What beautiful writing. I loved the beginning, and felt as if I was right in your driveway and yard with you, savoring the bright colors and textures. Thank you.

And what a great lentil soup treatment! I love the combination of cumin and coriander. Now I’m torn. I was toying with the idea of having the red beans and rice all ready when Mike and Kelly arrive next week. But this soup is ALSO a great Thanksgiving Eve meal. The photo makes me want to sit down and dip into the bowl right now. I absolutely love all kinds of lentils. Some incarnation of this is sure to show up at my table.

xoxox

moonwatcher (Maria)

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25 Rochelle November 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

This was very, very good! I had it for lunch today. I cooked it in my crockpot over night on low. I did not have brown lentils so I substituted moong dal. It was divine!! I also added 1/8 teaspoon of black salt (Kala Namak). If you have not tried Kala Namak in Indian dishes, you should. It adds that extra something!

I did not have any potatoes so I left those out. Also I used collards instead of spinach. I was soo sad when my thermos was empty. Guess I will have to have more tomorrow :)
BTW – the timing of this post and most of your posts was perfect!

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26 Joan November 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Looks yummy. Do you think black (beluga) lentils would work? Also, I don’t eat white potatoes. Could I use a winter squash instead, like butternut?

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27 Susan Voisin November 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Sure, I think both of those substitutions will be fine. Hope you enjoy it!

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28 sepeters November 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

What a great recipe redux, Susan! I’ve been wishing lately you’d do something marvelous like this and post some of your older recipes! There are so many wonderful things to cook on your website i never get as far back as i intend because i inevitably have all the ingredients for one of your recipes and rush off to make it before digging too deep.
Oh, and btw I make a lentil soup that is almost exactly like this one and yields the same volume in my standard crock pot. 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. For a more tender “stewy” texture like this recipe (drool) you might want to soak the lentils a bit first.

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29 hrgdane November 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I want to try this soup in my crock pot. How long would you soak the lentils. I’ve only recently started a vegan diet and am slowly learning more about legumes in general.

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30 sepeters November 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I usually soak mine over night in the fridge, then rinse them and just dump it all in the crock pot. If you soak it you don’t need to cook as long and the longer you cook the more they break down. I like mine more firm but they’re delicious any way they’re cooked. This is a really great starting point for lentils and is totally fool proof; you’ll love it whether it turns out soupy or stew-y. If you like lentils you’re going to love Susan’s blog. She is the master of the lentil! You will learn to love the legume!

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31 Susan Voisin November 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Aw, thanks, sepeters! It’s true that I am crazy about lentils. :-)

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32 Krista E November 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I can’t believe how good and filling this soup is! Had it tonight for dinner as it is very cold in my house (with no heat) despite the 70 degree day. I will make this again and again. My whole family liked it even my picky 11 yr old who said, “I didn’t ‘not’ like it.” haha, that means he liked it. I didn’t have any vegetable stock or bouillion so just used water and it worked well. I added a little Summer Savory seasoning and a touch of ground cardamom. I didn’t have any coriander so I added more cumin. Mmm…mmm….

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33 moonwatcher November 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Wow, Krista, summer savory and cardamom with the cumin–what an inspired variation on the seasonings!

moonwatcher

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34 Krista E November 13, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Thanks! These tweaks lend to ‘secret ingredient’ status :) Summer Savory is so awesome!

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35 Diana November 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I made this lentil soup tonight and everyone enjoyed it to the last drop of their bowls. I didn’t need bread at all. I did add sweet potatoes along with the potatoes I had left. It made to soup sweet without any need to add salt and sugar to play with. I love lentils, and I kn

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36 Diana November 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm

And I know this recipe is a definitely a keeper.

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37 Karen November 15, 2012 at 5:46 am

I think I will try this next week in the crockpot!

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38 Michelle@HappyHeart November 15, 2012 at 7:15 am

This looks delicious! Love a good hearty soup this time of year…and one that comes together easily is definitely the day to go!

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39 ArtistViv November 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

Susan, what a great soup and great use for the pressure cooker! I made this last night in practically no time and the taste and texture were terrific. I’d never been a fan of lentil soups because they alway seem to be lentils just floating in flavored liquid and maybe, depending on the recipe, pieces of vegetables. This soup beautifully melded everything into a thick, stew-like bowl of goodness with perfectly tender lentils and vegetables (and it looked pretty too). And the fact that I so quickly put it together after coming home from work is awesome. Thank you for inspiring me to eat healthy, great tasting food!

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40 The Nomad November 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I just finished eating my dinner of lentil soup! It was really good. I’m poor/cheap so i just used ingredients in my fridge. I used potatoes, carrots, lettuce, onion and pressed garlic for veggies. And cumin, curry powder, salt + pepper, garam masala for spices. Not completely the same but similar enough and it was soooo good. I spent 8 weeks in Indian last summer and ate homemade lentil stew most days. This was pretty similar. Thank you! It transported me back to my ashram AND was cheap, simple and delicious. ((My boyfriend threw in some Seroendeng to his pot. It gave his stew a very different taste but it was still good. I may have to experiment with Seroendang soup in the future))

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41 puraG November 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Thank you so very much Susan! . When I decided to become a vegan, I thought, my gosh, what would I eat? I can’t imagine food would taste well without chicken or meat or seafood. Now I have so many recipes to try. Thanks to you! You are a wonderful person!

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42 elizabeth November 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

What brand of vegetable bouillon cubes do you like? I haven’t found one I love, so I usually just use water and salt.

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43 Krista E November 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I like Rapunzel brand which I find in Whole Foods.

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44 Krista E November 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Those are good to have no hand, but it’s easy to make a batch of vegetable broth and freeze or can it.

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45 elizabeth November 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

I should definitely make some broth in the pressure cooker.

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46 Susan Voisin November 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm

I like the Not Chicken cubes by Edwards & Sons.

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47 moonwatcher November 16, 2012 at 1:03 am

Hi,

I made the soup tonight with a combination of Susan’s spicing and Krista’s. I used it all and it was great. I used a white sweet potato and a German butter ball potato from my garden stash, and a few tomatoes pieces, too. Instead of celery, I used some lovage I had in the freezer. I make the chickeny buillon cubes from the Vegan Slow Cooker. I used up the last ones I had made with lovage during the summer. Thanks for all the inspiration you two!! We certainly have the village it takes to make delicious meals.

xo

moonwatcher
moonwatcher

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48 elizabeth November 16, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thank you. I haven’t tried that brand yet.

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49 ciaradinneen November 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

I just made this for me and my family. It was so good and super delicious! Warm and wholesome.. The perfect rainy-day winter meal!
I love this blog so much and I use a lot of these recipes as they are easy for me to make and super healthy too.
I am 15 and vegetarian. This blog has really inspired and helped me a lot! I make big pots of the stews and soups on the weekends and freeze them in portions so that they are ready for me during the busy week days as the rest of my family are not as vegetarian as I am! I honestly don’t think I’d be able to do it so easily without the help of this blog!
Thank you so much Susan!
-Ciara

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50 Susan Voisin November 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thank you so much for your comment, Ciara! I’m so happy that my blog has been helpful to you. I think you’re so wise to make batches of soups and stews on the weekend–it’s that kind of planning that really makes a vegan diet easier to fit into a busy schedule. Good luck to you and happy holidays!

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51 journeyofbliss November 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Hi! I am a new FFVK follower, and sooo grateful for all of the recipes! I made this soup today, and it was delicious. I omitted the carrots and potatoes as I didn’t have any on hand. I added 1/2 can of tomato paste, 1 diced tomato, and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Also, I substituted fresh kale for the spinach. Very tasty! Thank you :)

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52 bonnie November 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Yet another winner from you, Susan! I have been using the same lentil soup recipe (from an old PETA cookbook – “The Compassionate Cook”) for many, many years. I saw the picture of this on your site and had to try it. Fortunately, the only thing I didn’t have on hand was a few potatoes, so I picked those up. I cooked it on the stovetop and it was fantastic. We dipped some roasted garlic ciabatta in the stuff and are full. Thanks!

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53 Sharon November 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

It was cold and rainy yesterday and this was perfect for dinner. Thank you Susan for another delicious recipe! I’m definitely keeping this one in my rotation.

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54 Louise November 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Your blog is an inspiration! I love lentil soup and this one looks absolutely delicious. Healthy and wholesome.

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55 Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner November 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Oh my gosh. I absolutely LOVE lentils!!!! I am SO making this asap!!! :D (Just added it to my list of recipes for college.)

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56 MIA November 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm

YUM! I just made this on the stove. I added a small zucc when the kale went in and some hot sauce at the end and it is SO delicious… Trying not to eat the whole pot..

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57 Ariana November 24, 2012 at 12:52 pm

This looks and sounds so delicious, i cant wait to try it!

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58 Robyn November 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

This is bubbling on the stove now and it smells fantastic!

I think this is one of the few recipes I did not alter, only because I have everything on hand :)

Thanks Susan!

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59 Robyn November 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Okay, my husband and I just devoured dinner! Daughter did not really try it but she is 22 months old and not big on trying new stuff.

This is amazingly delicious for such a simple recipe. I do not have a pressure cooked so just did it on the stovetop and my lentils and potatoes were well cooked at 35 minutes.

Thanks again for such a great recipe!

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60 Susan Voisin November 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I’m so glad you liked it, Robyn!

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61 Suzi November 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Yummmmm, just made this in my pressure cooker, my 3 year old twins asked for seconds and THIRDS!!! Deeeelish :) I always know to come to your site first to seek out a recipe, yours are always the best and have the best pics too!

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62 MariaL November 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This was delicious! We loved the spice combo. My 13 year old daughter nearly polished off the pot! Thank you for including pressure cooker directions. This really was quick and easy; I promised I’d pull together dinner sooner than if we went out, and it worked. Ahhhh….

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63 Jo Christian December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi Susan

I’m loving the site and your recipes!

I’ve just bought a vitamix at a food show. I’ve been considering it for ages and have finally taken the plunge.

The main reason was so that I could use it to make healthy soups from scratch.

Unfortunately, most of the soups that I’ve made have been bitter – due, I imagine, to the fact that I’m not cooking the veg in the traditional stove-top fashion.

Before I return the vitamix, have you any advice that will ease my concerns?

Many thanks

Jo

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64 Mrs S. December 9, 2012 at 7:47 am

I made this soup last night and it was DELICIOUS. My husband and I were practically licking the bowls. This has been officially added to my recipe binder. Love love loved it.

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65 laloofah December 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm

This is perfect – not only do we love lentil soup and the spices cumin and coriander, but we just got a new slow cooker after several years without one and I’m gathering up some good recipes to make in it. I’m definitely going to use it to make this as soon as I’ve gotten all the ingredients! Thank you, thank you!

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66 Ben @awesomeveganblog.com January 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Nice! I made a lentil soup with coriander and cumin this week, too! :)
http://awesomeveganblog.com/2013/01/17/cooked-vegan-organic-gastronomy-4-course-meal/

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67 Linda January 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

Can this be made with red lentils? If so do you wash the red lentils until water runs clear?

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68 Leslie Radcliffe March 3, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Having our coldest weekend this season in Orlando, FL. Couldn’t pass up making this for dinner. I have plenty left to eat this week. Thank you so much for another great meal.

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69 Mary-Anne April 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Be careful printing out this recipe..I didn’t notice the Print Recipe button until after I hit the print button, 20 pages of comments later it finally stopped! ARRRGGHH! I am so mad at myself for this enormous waste of paper, it has now become “GOOS” paper ( good on one side), very popular in the classroom :)

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70 Mary-Anne April 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Oh and I forgot to mention the most important thing, I am making this in my slow cooker! We are having such a chilly start to Spring feels more like Fall out there today, poor little flowers don’t stand a chance. My kitchen is smelling divine, I think it’s going to be another winner as all your recipes are Susan! :)

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71 Stevio May 7, 2013 at 4:19 am

I tried this one and it went down well, thanks. The ground coriander makes this!

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72 Tara Jensen May 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I made this soup this afternoon, with the help of my two girls, and I have to say….This soup is absolutely amazing! We made it on the stove top, and the only things I changed was adding one more bouillon cube, and an extra 1/2 tsp of cumin. This recipe makes a hearty, savoury, delicious soup, that my girls could not get enough of. I added a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves just before turning off the heat, and although my girls don’t really like spinach, they gobbled it up! They ate two bowls of it right away, and will be eating more as soon as they are hungry again. They were actually disappointed that they were too full to have more…lol.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe. I will be making this one often. My poor Husband, who is on a juice fast at the moment, had to smell it when he came home from work….talk about torture. He’ll be getting his own fresh batch as soon as he’s off of his fast. Thanks again!

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73 cj June 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Delicious! I doubled the amount of vegetables and the spices/seasonings. This is my favorite lentil soup recipe!!! Thank you!!

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74 Vienna October 24, 2013 at 7:59 am

This is a solid (as in reliable), easy to make soup with ingredients normally in the refrigerator. Tasted good. I let cook on the stovetop and it took way less than an hour, however, I am one to forget the lentils and let them boil too long in the beginning!

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75 Casey December 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Recently been introducing my boyfriend and his family to vegan food. It’s recipes like this that show people vegan food can be hearty also :) They enjoyed this very much!

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76 Wendy Tremblay March 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

This is simply to let you know that I tried this recipe and found it easy and delicious. It’s a keeper.

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77 Shey March 10, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Just tried the lentil soup recipe!
and I LOVED it!
So very fragrant, light and healthy.

Thank you

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78 Pat B April 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm

This is delicious! I served with a lemon slice. I used Seitanbacher Vegetable Broth and Seasoning instead of vegetable bouillon cubes.

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79 Pat B April 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Will this soup freeze well? I made more soup than I can use in a a few days.

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80 Susan Voisin April 6, 2014 at 7:31 am

It should freeze well. Hope you enjoy it!

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81 Leah May 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Love this recipe. I even made it for my mother who isn’t fond of soup, and she liked it enough that she wants me to make it again!

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82 Ruth September 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm

love this recipe!

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83 Shelley October 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I made this without a pressure cooker, so I just brought everything (minus lentils) to a boil, then added them, turned to low and cooked for an hour. The soup turned out great! I used frozen spinach and extra lemon juice, which made it even tastier! I can’t wait to make this soup again when it gets colder.

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