Spiced Tomato Soup with Red Lentils

This fantastic vegan twist on tomato soup came into our lives via the Australian director of a small women's choir I sang with in London. She sourced it from an Aussie women’s magazine that I’d never heard of but suddenly have a love-at-first-bite thing going with.

This tomato soup makes an approachable yet surprisingly nuanced dinner straight from the pantry in 45 minutes. Approachable yet surprisingly nuanced. It’s exactly the kind of meal we should expect from the totally rad, wildly overqualified women who brought it to us.


This soup works well for a family meal, and it only gets better over the course of a week, so it's also great for a week of not-sad desk lunches.

Spiced Tomato Soup with Red Lentils

This recipe is adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly via a friend. I've never actually seen this magazine. The website looks perfectly nice, but in the event it is a cover site for a porn ring or a right-wing propagandist, I apologize. How's that for a recipe headnote?

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 26-ounce boxes or 2 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups good vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup uncooked red lentils, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 generous teaspoon salt (if using unsalted tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a 5-quart heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cumin, and garam masala and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add the sambal oelek, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, stock or water, lentils, sugar, and cilantro, and stir to combine well.
  3. Raise the heat to high to bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until lentils are very tender and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 271 Total Fat:: 8.5g Carbohydrates:: 43g Fiber:: 8.5g Protein:: 10.4g