Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup
Photo: Kelly Rossiter
We are in the midst of another brutal cold snap. Now, I have to say up front that I am one of those Canadians who actually likes the cold, but yesterday I lasted only about 10 minutes on my usual 45-minute dog walk because my cheeks were burning and I feared frostbite. In Canada, we measure our temperature in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit, so our temperature this morning was minus 23 degrees C, which is about minus 10 degrees F. Factor in the windchill, which indicates what the temperature feels like, and it was minus 32 degrees C or minus 25 degrees F.
That begs the question, what do you eat to warm you up and allow you to face those temperatures? Well, last night it was beef stew for dinner with lots of gravy. But I also always want a pot of soup available for lunch (and sometimes breakfast!). Not wanting to head out to the grocery store, I concocted a soup that I could make from the contents of my pantry that would satisfy. I always have my homemade canned tomatoes on hand, as well as basic vegetables such as carrots, celery and onions and lots of different types of legumes. My husband isn't as big of a fan of tomatoes as I am, but he loves Indian food, so I decided to put in Indian spices to make it more interesting to him. In fairly short order I had a great satisfying bowl of soup in front of me.

Prep time: 20 minutes 

Total time: 1 hour 

Yield: 4 servings

Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 can tomatoes with juices, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
Cooking directions
  1. In a large pot heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onion and cook until it begins to look translucent, about 4 minutes. Add carrot and celery and continue to cook until the onion has softened.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and stir, taking care not to let the garlic turn dark brown. Add cumin and turmeric and cook for another minute until it is fragrant. Add the red lentils and stir until it is coated with the vegetable and spice mixture.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and gently simmer until the lentils are completely soft, about 25 minutes.
  4. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup to the desired consistency. If you like a chunkier soup, you can leave this step out. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro if using.

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