Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter Recipe

From where I sit, I can see the laundry piled high knee-high. The trash, compost, and recycling are overflowing, threatening to take over the kitchen entirely. When I glance down, I can see my toenails are painted a shade of vampy maroon, my feet sit flat against a white tile floor covered in a hideous patina of flour, sugar, and fiber particles that have migrated from the jute runner in the hallway. It's just gross.

Kinfolk Feature

That said, this is the first time in the past ten days I've had a moment to sit down and spend some time with a growing pile of magazines and media (including the new Kinfolk), and I have no intention of moving anytime soon. I did a short little essay about winter in the new Kinfolk (volume two), it goes along with some pictures Wayne and I contributed. I thought you might like to see a few of the (photo) outtakes from the shoot, and have the recipe for the soup in the photos. It's one of my favorite cold-weather soups - green lentils (or split peas), topped with a curried brown butter drizzle, and pan-fried paneer cubes. Some of you might recognize it from SNED.

Kinfolk Feature

We shot it as we sat down for an early dinner one night. The soup was leftover, the bread from Tartine, and the beer home made. Wayne threw some cubes of paneer cheese in a skillet, at the last minute, as an added touch.

Kinfolk Feature

Happy New Year everyone. And thank you all for making this year extra special - it was a genuine treat to meet so many of you at various events/book signings. Stay warm and safe. And we'll reconvene in the new year! xo -h

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

You can use either green lentils of green split peas here. Both are delicious, but the green split peas tend to lend a brighter green color to the soup.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups / 1.3 liters good-tasting vegetable broth or water

1 1/2 cups / 10.5 oz / 300 g green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup / 125 ml coconut milk

Fine-grain sea salt

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

small cubes of pan-fried paneer (optional)

Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth.

Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives, (and paneer cubes if you're using them).

Serves 4 to 6

from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 45 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Haha the way you described your house is exactly what my house looks like right now :) That green lentil soup looks delicious - I'll definitely be adding the paneer cubes in when I make this dish!

Anjali @ The Picky Eater

Yum, this looks so delicious! I'm always on the lookout for good lentil soup recipes since many of them are so dull...this one looks like it has terrific flavor!


Looks simple yet perfectly delicious for a cold winter day. Brown butter is so rich in flavour I'm sure that drizzle just makes the dish!

The Healthy Hipster

The soup looks wonderful but what's grabbing my eyes is that perfectly crusted bread with those big holes, just perfect for soaking up olive oil...or browned butter :)

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

the garnishes are what are really looking good here ... and I love the action shots; beautiful photos as always.

Nico('s Tiny Kitchen)

Looks delicious! Great pictures!


We make this all the time (from super natural every day) and love it. My 7 year old daughter requested this soup for breakfast and french toast for dinner on her upcoming birthday.


Lentil soup for breakfast! What a brilliant idea on a cold winter day. My fave lentil soup has an Italian twist--garlic, oregano and tomatoes, even a sprinkle of romano. I can't wait to try this one. And Happy Birthday to Pat's 7 year old!


That bread is beautiful! And that soup...I love it. I am totally in need to good, hearty, healthy food like this. Happy new year!

Belinda @zomppa

Looks so good I can smell it! So happy with SNED and the free tote that Powell's gave with the order- I have people asking me, "Wait, you KNOW Heidi?" so it's a little bit of celebrity here in DC... this is on The List, even though I am still waiting for my Prince Tartine...


Happy New Year to you & Wayne, too! It was such a great geting to see you (twice!) this year :)


We make this at least once every two weeks (from SNED) . It is the best thing I cook, I relish every mouthful, it makes me SO happy!! Even my carnivorous husband and picky toddler eat every drop!!!

Best. Soup. Ever!!

Cathryn Ramsden

It's raining in my city , this seems perfect on the menu :)

Followed the blog, hope you don’t mind. And who knows, maybe you’ll visit me someday too.



This so good. We make a soup with fresh green peas with ghee and some curry powder and serve it with sauteed paneer cubes, chives are not used that commonly here in India... I am sure going to hunt for some green lentils to make this soup exactly like this. Lovely cozy pictures.

sangeeta khanna

I definitely recognize and adore this soup from SNED! I've only made it with split peas - it's amazing. I love it with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt atop. Serious (delicious) comfort food here, thank you for the reminder... I'll be making this for lunch yet this week now!

Niki of SI

What a great recipe for this blustery night here in upstate NY. Looks delicious.


The soup looks great Heidi. I can't wait to read your piece on Kinfolk. Happy New Year!

Louisa Allan

Heidi, Thanks for the reminder to try this soup. It's one of the ones in your book I have yet to try. Everything has been amazing from that cookbook by the way. Many make weekly appearances on my table. The pictures here are beautiful. Congrats on your article and photos in Kinfolk. I'll check back in the New Year! :)


Oh wow- I always love how everything is so natural looking in all your photos! Thanks for another great recipe!

Simply Life

Thank you for mentioning Kinfolk. I perused their web journal and ordered my first copy. It seems to encompass everything I feel about entertaining and sharing with friends...I look forward to its arrival!


I just made this a few nights ago! So good. Got a new America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and made their buttermilk biscuits too. Nice combo! It was a perfect dinner after a rainy day in the city.

Toni Rae

I laughed out loud, with understanding, at your first paragraph. That was me yesterday! Thanks for making me feel better about a gross post-holiday house, and for reminding me about one of my favorite soups.


This soup looks similar in color and texture to the curried parsnip and butter bean soup I made yesterday. I love using curry in soups as it adds such a wonderful and spicy flavor. I am going to try this soup as well and add it to my list of winter soups.

Happy New Year Heidi :)

jackie @ marin mama cooks

This was the first recipe from your cookbook that I made! Your two new cookbooks are my go-to for meals now...such great ideas! Love them. Happy New Year!


I enjoyed your piece in Kinfolk and it's fun to see the outtakes here. That bread does look amazing. I also like the shot taken from behind with your braided hair- so creative. Happy New Year!

la domestique

I can relate to the need to relax--and to savoring the moment when it finally (sweetly) arrives.

This soup looks amazing; even though I have your cookbook, I must have missed it on my way to the Baked Oatmeal and Rice Casserole. But I definitely won't pass it over again!

katy from diningwithdusty

This looks amazing! And I love how the prep time is not too long at all. Simple and hearty! Looking forward to giving this a try.

Violets and Cardamom

Happy New Year to you! Here's to another great year of posts and recipes from (and perhaps get another book in the works?)!


this sounds absolutely heavenly! the perfect soup for the new year.

laura @ glutton for nourishment

This soup is in regular rotation at our house, it is so delicious. The last time I made it we were out of red pepper flakes, so I substituted a little crushed chipotle. Wow! Give it a try sometime.

BTW I was at Powell's in Portland last week and saw Super Natural Every Day in its own end cap display. Congrats! Thanks for all the great recipes.


That looks gorgeous. I haven't attempted green split peas yesterday, although I'm a big fan of yellow.

It's got several ingredients I haven't got but may well need to pick up to have a go. Anything that goes well with paneer is good with me!


I got your book, Super Natural Every Day, for Christmas and I was so excited! I have been following your blog for some time and had been meaning to pick up your book. The first thing I tried from it was this green lentil soup and it was amazing. I did make a few minor modifications though (Thai curry paste instead of Indian and addition of kale). I am so thankful for you and your blog. You have opened my eyes to a new way of healthy eating and I'm loving it. Thank you! Happy New Year!


I love that this post captures part of your day-to-day life, since that is what good recipes are all about.


Don't worry about it, Heidi. My grandma used to say that as long as you were really living and enjoying it, you didn't need to wash the kitchen floor until it pulled your socks off.


Heidi, as usual this recipe looks and sounds delicious.

I'd like to know which type/brand of curry powder you prefer for this recipe. I have a couple of curry powders in my pantry, but I'm not sure I like them or which kind to use where/when. There are sooooo many!

Thank you again for your imagery and inspiration.
P.S. I love your opening paragraph. I have two under four and we sometimes thrive in mess.


This is great! I had been looking for a lentil soup recipe for New Years' Eve. I think I found it....And I love your description of home at the holidays, everything piling up. It is the same here. Happy New Year!


Hello....I love your recipes and they have been a great inspiration for my recipes in our tea lounge/ smoothie bar and yoga studio....I wanted to make a nourishing curry filled with heart warming ingredients. I used your coconut curry recipe with a twist. I used a really good Darjeeling tea....just enough for the taste of india....blessings to you for all your amazing it!

karen matusow

I just got your new cookbook for christmas and I am loving it! I am reading it front to back and marking many pages along the way that I can't wait to try! Thanks! Happy New Year!


A dear friend gave me SNED for my birthday earlier this month. Last night I had a small dinner party based almost entirely on recipes from it - turnip chips, roasted chickpeas, white bean spread (+your crackers from 101CB), roasted kale salad, red Thai curry squash... everything was fantastic! Love, love, love the book. (I can't wait to have the leftovers tonight :)

HS: Happy to hear that Deb! Happy new year :)


Yum! This one is perfect for our rainy Wintry weather in Portland, OR. Definitely on the list or will be on the stove this weekend. Thanks Heidi!


Looking for how to/ghee recipe....... thanks for all u do!!! :)

lil peg

Oh, I cannot tell you how good it is to hear that I'm not the only one with a growing pile of flour & crumbs making their way through my apartment from the kitchen... not to mention the random passing of a cat hair tumbleweed.

But I'm more happy to hear you have a piece in the new Kinfolk. I just ordered mine the other day. I can guarantee the laundry will have to wait when it arrives!


My loving daughter Barbara gave me your Super Natural Every Day Cookbook for my recent birthday. It has been great enjoyment just viewing your wonderful recipes. Now the holidays are over and I am ready to cook your healthy recipes. Thank you Heidi for a great edition.

Donna Myers

That looks fabulous!!!

erin @ from city to farm

I've been meaning to make this soup since I bought SNED, but I haven't yet. This is just the kick in the pants I needed.


Mine, sans the chives because I did not have them is now sitting in the freezer!! It was tasting delicious and my Daughter in Law loves it. So, I make it for her. One day soon, I will deliver it to where she works. Maybe tomorrow and surprise her for a nice treat for their supper. My son (and the family) got really lucky 25 years ago when they married. They were childhood sweethearts from grammer school :-). And still going strong with love. God has indeed blessed us all. Thank you Heidi this is delicious and next time, I will have chives handy. Have a fantastic new year in your new home.

Beverly Jane

Ha! I spent yesterday cleaning the kitchen! It was pretty bad after holiday meals, plus I had the help of three unhelpfully helpful ferrets. This soup looks great, and I love lentils. Always looking for something warming and filling here in North Pole, AK in the winter. Thanks!


Wow. I've been look for a use for a random supply of lentils I came across. This looks great and rustic on the table with the bread.


I love this soup! Have made it several times from the book, and everyone always has seconds! Sooo delicious!


Oh for a quite moment and a cup of hot soup! Great photos, and a happy New Year to you, too.

the tasty tRuth

Perfect for the cold, wet and windy weather we're having at the moment. Making an Indian buffet for New Year's Eve and this may just have to be included.

Happy New Year x


Heidi - Happy New Year to You. This soup looks creamy and delicious. Do you find that you need to do anything special to best enjoy any leftovers?

HS: Just thin it out with a bit of water (or broth) Noelle - happy new year!

Noelle @ GreenLemonade

Gosh, sometimes I get the feeling you live in an Anthropologie catalogue! And I mean that in the most sincerely flattering way!

I have made all of your lentil soups and the Coconut Red Lentil one has become a staple. Can't wait to try this one.


Soup looks amazing. Just found your blog yesterday. Great site. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Adam Hegsted

Happy New Year! Hope this coming one is filled with warm bowls in light just like this- the light! beautiful. Cheers to you both, a


Happy New Year Heidi! I (finally) got a copy of SNED from my boyfriend for Christmas! Along with an amazing chef's knife! So I've been cooking my way through your book and, funnily enough, was going to try this next!

I've been reading and enjoying your blog since 2007, though am not one to comment often. But that said, I wanted to today to tell you how much I'm enjoying SNED - it's a really beautiful book!

My  organic co-op (where I get my seasonal box of vegies from) has just started stocking golden castor sugar, black-strap molasses, rapunzel stock cubes, organic mustards, and various of your other favoured ingredients, usually very hard to find here, which makes me think there's been quite a few requests for them from other Melbourne (aus) 101 readers! 

Thanks for all the inspiration! 


I am allergic to lentils, and have often wondered whether an appropriate substitute existed. I see you've listed green split peas here. Would that work in other kinds of recipes too? This would make my day if I could finally find a substitute!!

Many thanks, and happy New Year from an enthusiastic reader.


This is the first recipe of yours I made after accidentally finding your book at the library. It is SO good. The brown butter drizzle is a great idea, I'd never done that before. Thanks!


I think everyone's home gets a little demolished around the holidays. Your soups never dissapoint and the weather in Portland is turning cold and wet, so I am excited to try this one out soon.

Tasha @Tashasdish

I too got "Super Natural Every Day" for Christmas. I made two things from the book today. My son helped me make the multigrain pancakes for brunch and I made the egg salad for dinner with my potato soup. I have to confess that I never really knew how to boil eggs properly...tehe. Both were wonderful and I don't know why I never thought of using yougart instead of mayo. Thanks so much!!


Belated Christmas and very happy new year to you from us in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Muaz Sabu

Happy new year to you as well. Thanks for all the work you do on this blog and always making us feel like wonderful food is never out of reach.


Looks awesome, thanks for this! Great food sensory !

Rob Johnson

I'm a soup monster! I love soup! I adore soup! I dig soup!!! Nice recipe!
Happy new year to you and your bunch.



Lentil soup is one of my favorites! Soupe recipes are so useful and helpful in the cold winter. Thanks for sharing!


Simple and delicous recipe..I love you book Heidi :) Happy New Year to you , Ste


I recently discovered Kerrygold irish butter (it's been sitting right there in the grocery store all this time, but who knew?). It is significantly different and miles better than ANY butter I've ever had. This soup sounds divine and thinking of that butter in it, well, yum.

heidi (in FL)

On Christmas Eve I made the Red Lentil Soup with Lemon for the whole family and it was a huge success!!!
Guess I'm going to make this one tomorrow night (I might ease on the butter though!)

Peace and Happy New Year

Mike @TheIronYou

I guess I couldn't wait (see comment above)! We just made and ate this luscious blend of goodness. My preschooler is sniffling her way through a bowl right now!

heidi (in FL) again

I love this recipe! We make it all the time and have been doing all kinds of variations - adding sweet potatoes pan-fried in curried butter, or red split lentils, or some leftover roasted squash. It's always delicious.


Creamy, hearty and wholesome...this soup is a natural part of wintertime. Pan-fried cheese and toasty, crusty bread should be a requirement commanded by this delightful recipe.

Jessica @ Hungrygems

Brown butter. Mmmm. *food dreams*

The Cozy Herbivore

My godmother down in Charleston, South Carolina just introduced me to your blog last week. I am so thankful! I have already made two of your recipes - both were fantastic hits. I made the mushroom/rice casserole as well as the lentil soup with saffron yogurt. Exquisite. I'm dying to make this split pea soup next. Now, I must go out and buy your book!


Love how warming this soup sounds and the topping of paneer cheese sounds fun! I think I will make this for a group of seniors at our local senior center - they would really enjoy this.


the chasm between words + pictures here is priceless!

happy new year to you, heidi.


Love soups, and this one sounds so good. And there is nothing wrong with having some curry in it:) Yummy:) :) I hope you have a great and Happy New Years Eve Heidi, and an even greater new year:)


Enjoyed seeing your cookbook in Anthropologie while in South Florida over the holidays!


I thank you for your wonderful ideas
about cooking and wish you a Prospero Nuevo Año 2012. Madrid Spain


Oh Heidi, thank you so much for making me feel better about this compost overflowing in the kitchen. And the trash and the recycling too.! Then to add this wonderful soup recipe! WOW. You are the best. It is cold and rainy here today and this is just perfect for dinner tonight. I think a fire in the fireplace is in order, too. Kudos!


I so much like lentil dishes; your soup looks gorgeous, wonderful photos.


Oh this looks lovely! After quite an over indulgent Xmas and New Years, I'm heading to detox land tomorrow, and am planning to start with this soup, without the paneer. Hopefully it will give me the energy to clean our kitchen, which sounds so similar to your own.


I made this last night and my husband and I savored each bite. And as you probably already knew, it was EVEN BETTER for lunch today. Delish. I rarely comment here, but also want to take a moment to thank you for the ways you enrich my life at least weekly through your delicious recipes! The beautiful pictures, great links and references are icing on the cake.


I have never made this soup before so I am keen to try it. Whilst it's summer here in Australia, I've stored the recipe away for the next cold day (what I call 'soup weather').

Thanks for sharing your recipe.


I always love your photos, something about the rustic feel of them. Great job. It's a fun life when we have so much to tackle in a day and we choose the fun stuff instead. Enjoy!


We did a riff on this tonight (with kabocha puree instead of coconut milk for richness), and it was both nourishing and ridiculously tasty. Just another example of a stellar 101 cookbooks recipe that has graced our table this past year.

Thank you for your stunning and satisfying recipes and hope 2012 is a good one for you!


P.S. I now want to put curry brown butter on everything--so so yummy!


Such wonderful, comforting food, many thanks for sharing. In Turkish cooking, we cook green lentils with bulgur and serve it with caramelised onion slices over the top with some pickled cucumber or cabbage. It is wonderful too, worth having a go. Happy New Year to you all, Ozlem

Ozlem Warren

Lovely! Very comforting yet healthy soup for a chilly night :) Thanks for sharing!


heidi: the article in kinfolk is perfection! and these outakes are no exception! off to gather a few needed ingrediants to make this soup! working on a tartine bread starter, as well - and am looking forward to the day I can try the 2 together!

ps: WHERE did you get that gorgeous cuff??!!!

HS: Thanks Ashley - I've had that cuff for some time - I'm pretty sure I picked it up at Anthro? 90% sure.


This is so delicious, it's made my whole day. Heidi, this is what you do best! Take things I already love and remix them---the curried brown butter is to. die. for. Eating with toast drizzled with Tupelo honey. YUM.


Looks delicious!! Love your recipes.


I just made this for dinner. This is a real winner. Thanks Heidi!


Heidi - I made this soup tonight with some beer bread (also homebrew)... my partner said it was his favorite meal of recent memory, and I have to agree! Great flavor and super simple. Thanks for the great recipe!


I love red lentil soup...but have never cooked green lentils. I've added them to my to cook list. One of the things I love about your recipes is they give me inspiration to try new things.


All the more reasons to get my grubby hands on Kinfolk! Thanks for the great recipe and happy new year.


We have a lot of lentil soups and this one has a great zing. It will become a regular here. By the way, I thinned down the leftovers and it went in a flask to warm us up on a walk. M'mmm!


I love your book and will definitely plan to make this. Quick question though -- do you know of any brands that sell coconut milk that is not in a can? I've been searching with no luck, and the more I read about BPA the more its freaking me out. Happy New Year!!!!

HS: Not offhand Nirvana: but I have been keeping my eyes peeled. Will report back if/when I see some.


Yum, Yum, Yum!!! This soup is absolutely delicious and we surprisingly preferred it without the panner cubes, it was just sooo good in its own right. Thank you sooo much Heidi for all the great recipes. My husband bought me SNE for Christmas after months of using your online recipes. I love to cook but I was always under impressed with most recipes I made at home until I discovered your website. We use your recipes for at least 90% of our dinners now and you have taught me so much about new flavor combinations. We love you!


Heidi, This recipe is perfect. Even my picky 15 year old step daughter that thinks curry is nasty loved this. I want to thank you for all your recipes.

I started cooking off your website almost two years ago and since then I have become vegetarian and lost 40 lbs and I feel better than I ever have. Thank you so much for changing my life for the better! My husband and I also love your cook book. I always tell him you are my best friend. LOL


Wonderful recipe, I just tried it this evening and it was a delight ! Thank you for this heart-warming, comforting soup. I wanted something nice and simple to cook, and it was perfect !


This looks like the perfect dish to recoup from a winter filled with too many heavy dishes and too many long nights!


Just made this for dinner...I was blown away by everything about this soup! I didn't have onions (!) so I used about half the amount of shallots, a sprinkling of cilantro instead of chives, and a little drizzle of some lemon. YUM YUM. Thanks!


Had everything on hand already except the paneer (which was impossible to find on New Year's Day), it was easy to put together, and has been keeping us warm and satisfied for a couple of days. Thanks for the yummy recipe.


MMMMMM,...I have made your tasty soup & it was divine!

Georgous soup too! :)


This sounds lovely!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I could not wait to try this. As a huge fan of lentils, curry AND paneer, I knew this was going to be fabulous. Totally tasty and very comforting. Served as recommended with pan-fried paneer as well as bread. Thank you for this treat!


Hi Heidi, I've been truly enjoying your your cookbook Super Natural Cooking Everyday and recently just read your lovely article in Kinfolk. Thank you. -Nikko

Nikko Moy

I think this is perfect to serve with any bread during cool weather, specially the “Indian - Naan”. Love it. :)

love cooking

earlier this week, i had JUST finished making the version of this soup that is in SNED and while i enjoyed a bowl, decided to flip over to your blog.....only to see THIS version! serendipitous, no? it's a great soup for keeping resolutions this month, and along with your little quinoa patties & broccoli orzo salad are all being posted about on my blog (linking back to you, of course!) thanks for the inspiration!

cory @ {relish}

I made this soup recently and it was delicious. I used green split-peas instead of lentils and it turned out great. Will definitely make again.


This was one of the first recipes I made from your cookbook and it's my "go to" now when I want to make an easy, delicious soup. When I'm in a hurry, I add the curry powder after a couple of minutes of cooking the onions so it coats the onion completely. It's still delicious!


I made this soup yesterday, such a nice break from my standby split pea soup. I wanted to make a double batch and freeze half, but was afraid the flavors would get lost in the freezer. Any advice on how it freezes and maintains flavor?


This is the most delicious lentil soup I've ever had. It's true that "everything tastes better with butter," but it's still a revelation to me that it could go with lentils!

Consider me a new acolyte. I am obsessed with your site. Thank you!


Absolutely delicious! This will become a staple in my apartment from now on. Thank you!


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