It’s June in Nashville and I’m making French lentil soup. It may seem counterintuitive, I know, but here we are in the hottest season of the year in America and Tim and I are still scooping ladles of this creamy, spicy mixture to our bowls.
What can I say? It’s economical, it’s easy, it’s a good way to use up the chard showing up in your farm share every week but, mostly, we like this sort of soup because it tastes good.
In the world of soups, it is the closest thing to Asian takeout you can achieve fast and furious (and with all real food) without leaving your front door.
By that, I don’t mean it tastes Asian exactly but rather that those same feelings you get from Asian takeout—I’m talking Indian or Chinese or, oh man, pad Thai—where what you’re eating is so richly spiced and flavorful that you feel like you’re escaping, like your eating from someplace entirely Other and not your hometown?
That’s how I feel when we have this soup.
A simple recipe for French lentil soup made with turmeric and curry-esque spices, creamy, warm and comforting which only cost a few pennies per serving to make.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated (or minced or pressed)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup whole milk (or full-fat coconut milk)
- 2 cups cooked French lentils
- a few handfuls fresh spinach, chard or kale, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- In a stockpot over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and butter together, adding the turmeric and letting it toast in the pan. Add the diced onion and stir often for about 10 to 15 minutes, until all the onions are soft and wilted, with caramelized sections in parts.
- Add the garlic, cardamom and cinnamon, and stir together until just mixed, about 30 seconds.
- Add the lentils, milk and greens, and bring the entire mixture back to a gentle boil, letting it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until all the flavors have melted and the greens and soft.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Keywords: French, lentils, soup, cardamom, turmeric, chard
Did you make this and love it like we did? Let us know in the comments below and please rate the recipe!
Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 27th, 2014. Last updated: January 9, 2019 at 9:09 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.