Probably one of the primary reasons I can’t get behind a paleo diet is that you’re not allowed to eat lentils, which is (in my unprofessional opinion) bullshit. Sorry, mom.
Second only to falafel, lentils (in any form) might be one of my most favorite foods on the whole entire planet, and I make them all through the fall and winter. ‘Tis the season. Lentils are dirt cheap, satisfying and heartwarming, especially when combined with coconut milk and curry powder.
I don’t care if cavemen ate them.
I first fell in love with lentils while living in Spain.
I stayed with a single mom and her teenaged daughter. Vegetarianism is not the norm in Madrid and was especially foreign to poor Sofia. Still, she was overly accommodating to my foreign dietary demands. She would scour rare specialty stores for new ingredients so I wouldn’t get bored with the same things week after week. She would often ask me what they were and what to do with them, but by the end of my three-month stay she was a vegetarian pro. One dish she made frequently that required no guidance from me was her lentil soup–lentejas in Spanish. “Quieres lentejas?” she would ask. Did I want lentils? Hell yes I wanted lentils. I want lentils every day.
When I got back home and started making lentils myself, they quickly became my favorite morning hangover food. This can’t possibly be normal but it’s true.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until years later to start making some new variations of this old favorite, but I’m glad I did.
The simple addition of coconut milk for its creaminess, walnuts for their crunch, and curry powder for its warm aroma, morphs this dish into something entirely new (and entirely awesome).
Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
- 2 cups dried lentils
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large potato, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 can light coconut milk
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Warm olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat
- Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until tender
- Towards the end of your saute time, toss in garlic and curry powder (save it for the end so you don’t burn it) and let the flavors meld for a couple minutes
- Add lentils, broth, coconut milk, potato and walnuts
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook about 30 minutes
[Disclaimer: That photo is an old shot of a coconut milk-less batch I made last year. Add the coconut milk. It is bomb.]