Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

A favorite green lentil soup topped with a curried brown butter drizzle, and pan-fried paneer cubes.

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

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 Super Natural Every Day.
Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

It's a soup I revisit often, and these photos are outtakes of it that ran in an early issue of Kinfolk magazine. I did a short little essay about winter (volume two!), and it ran alongside with some pictures Wayne and I contributed. 

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Here's the deal. The magic here is the curried brown butter drizzle. Don't skip it. Also, a good chunk of hearty sourdough really elevates the whole experience. Or! Some good naan or paratha.

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
You can certainly explore a vegan version though. You could infuse some olive oil or coconut oil with spices, and brown some tofu in place of paneer. A different beast, but also really good. Not brown butter good on the flavor front, but still good. ;)Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter
I also want to note there are some great variation ideas down in the comments. 

101 Cookbooks Membership

Premium Ad-Free membership includes:
-Ad-free content
-Print-friendly recipes
-Spice / Herb / Flower / Zest recipe collection PDF
-Weeknight Express recipe collection PDF
-Surprise bonuses throughout the year

spice herb flower zest
weeknight express

Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

4.49 from 25 votes

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)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
50 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


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


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

Adam Hegsted

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.


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

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


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

the tasty tRuth

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.


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

Muaz Sabu

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.


That looks fabulous!!!

erin @ from city to farm

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!!


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!


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!


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!


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

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!


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

laura @ glutton for nourishment

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 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

More Recipes

101cookbooks social icon
Join my newsletter!
Weekly recipes and inspirations.

Popular Ingredients

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of its User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

101 Cookbooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Any clickable link to on the site is an affiliate link.