Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.

The post Spiced Lentils with Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, then you know how much I love lentils. They’re cheap, easy to cook, and are a blank slate for flavor. This week I decided to take one of my favorite spice combos and add it to some lentils. Warm cumin, garlic, and ginger pair with the subtle sweetness of ginger, cinnamon, and carrots to create a complex flavor that is simply out of this world. Spoon these saucy spiced lentils over something starchy like polenta, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes and you’ll be in lentil heaven.

Overhead view of spiced lentils with carrots in a skillet

Spiced but not Spicy

These lentils are seasoned with a slew of warm, sweet, and savory spices, but they are not hot or spicy. I did add a ¼ tsp crushed red pepper to the mix which gives the back end just a slight kick, but I still wouldn’t consider it spicy by any means. If you do happen to be sensitive to spicy flavors, you can reduce or eliminate the crushed red pepper.

What Kind of Lentils to Use

This recipe is designed for brown or green lentils (not French green lentils, which take much longer to cook). This type of lentil cooks in about 20-30 minutes of simmering, does not require soaking, and they hold their shape when softened. I do not recommend red, orange, or yellow lentils for this recipe because they break down quickly when cooked and will leave you with something more like a mush or porridge.

How to Serve Spiced Lentils

You can serve these lentils in a bowl on their own with some crusty bread for dipping, or spoon them over just about any type of starch. I served mine over a cornmeal mush (like polenta or grits), but you could also serve them over rice, mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes, farro, or any other grain that you might like.

Meal Prep It!

I think these spiced lentils would make a fabulous vegetarian or vegan meal prep. They’ll keep well in the fridge for four to five days and should reheat quickly in the microwave. They’ll also freeze well, so you can stock a few extra portions in your freezer!

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta
side view of spiced lentils on a bed of polenta

Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.
Total Cost $3.91 recipe / $0.98 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 314kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger $0.10
  • 4 carrots (about 2 cups chopped) $0.56
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp allspice $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.15
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins* $0.75
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and peel and dice the carrots.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to a deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about five minutes).
  • Add the diced carrots, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
  • Next, add the uncooked lentils, tomato paste, and broth to the skillet. Stir until the tomato paste has dissolved into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
  • Allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils simmer in the broth with the lid on for 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be very tender. Give the lentils a taste and add salt or pepper if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth, I did not add any).
  • Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping, or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

*Raisins are the more economical choice here (golden or purple raisins), but I happened to have dried apricots on hand so I used those instead of buying raisins specifically for this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 851mg | Fiber: 18g
close up side view of spiced lentils in the skillet

How to Make Spiced Lentils with Carrots – Step by Step Photos

onion, garlic, and ginger in a skillet

Dice one yellow onion, mince four cloves of garlic, grate about one teaspoon fresh ginger, and peel and dice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Carrots and spices added to the skillet

Add the chopped carrots to the skillet along with 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.

lentils, tomato paste, and broth being added to the skillet

Add one cup uncooked brown lentils, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, and 3 cups vegetable broth to the skillet.

chopped apricots

Also, add ¼ cup chopped dried apricots or raisins to the skillet. If using dried apricots, chop them to about the same size as raisins.

Lid being placed on the skillet

Stir everything together until the tomato paste is mixed into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils continue to simmer, with the lid in place, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Finished spiced lentils in the skillet

After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be tender. Give them a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any, but depending on the salt content of your broth, you may need a bit to make the flavors pop.

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta

Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

spiced lentils in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Try These Other Delicious Lentil Recipes:

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Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

Hooray for easy soups! This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is the type of recipe that saves the day—very few ingredients, fast, and really delicious. Oh yeah, and did I mention how incredibly inexpensive it is?? Seriously, just pennies per bowl. It’s also freezer-friendly, super healthy, just happens to be vegan-friendly, and you can […]

The post Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Hooray for easy soups! This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is the type of recipe that saves the day—very few ingredients, fast, and really delicious. Oh yeah, and did I mention how incredibly inexpensive it is?? Seriously, just pennies per bowl. It’s also freezer-friendly, super healthy, just happens to be vegan-friendly, and you can have fun customizing the toppings. It basically checks all my boxes! Bookmark this recipe for later because I promise it will become part of your regular rotation.

Originally posted 2-4-2016, updated 9-29-2021.

Four bowls of curried red lentil and pumpkin soup with bread and leaves scattered around the bowls

Have Fun with the Toppings

I just LOVE any meal where I can add toppings and this pumpkin soup is the perfect blank slate. Not that it’s not awesome on its own, it’s just that the flavors in this lentil and pumpkin soup are versatile and can handle being paired with all sorts of add-ins. So here are some ideas: go creamy with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream, spice it up with a few red pepper flakes or sriracha, toss in some crunchy pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or croutons, or sprinkle on a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. Or hey, DO THEM ALL. I won’t judge.

Can I Substitute the Pumpkin?

If you don’t have canned pumpkin, you can use about a cup and a half of mashed sweet potato or butternut squash in its place. Just make sure they’re really soft and well-mashed so there is no stringiness in the final soup. Oh, and speaking of that, you can take an immersion blender to the finished soup for a super silky finish if you’d like. Me? I prefer to have a little texture from the lentils.

Can I Use Brown or Green Lentils for Pumpkin Soup?

While you can use a different type of lentil, it will definitely change the outcome of the soup. Red or yellow lentils are best for this soup because of their mild flavor and the fact that they break down quickly when cooked, giving the soup a nice thick consistency (like split pea soup). A brown or green lentil will give the soup a much earthier flavor and have a chunkier texture.

What Kind of Curry Powder Do You Use?

I’m not very picky about curry powder and haven’t come across one yet that I don’t like. I do prefer to use mild curry powder for this soup, that way I can adjust the heat by adding my own cayenne pepper if I want. One brand that I’ve enjoyed is Sharwood’s mild curry powder. Or you can try making your own curry powder using this recipe for Easy Homemade Curry Powder from Spiceitupp.com.

close up of a ladle full of lentil and pumpkin soup

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

This Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup is super fast and easy, and will keep you warm from the inside out on chilly fall evenings!
Total Cost $3.39 recipe / $0.57 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 1.33 cups each
Calories 175kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.31
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder $0.30
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée $1.05
  • 1 cup dry red lentils $0.67
  • 6 cups vegetable broth $0.78
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the curry powder and continue to sauté for about a minute more.
  • Next, add the pumpkin purée, lentils, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and bring the soup up to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
  • Finally, taste the soup and add salt to taste (about ½ tsp). Serve hot with bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1141mg | Fiber: 12g

Love savory pumpkin recipes? You should also try our Spicy Coconut and Pumpkin Soup, Chipotle Pumpkin Pasta, or Easy Pumpkin Soup.

A spoonful of lentil and pumpkin soup being lifted from the bowl

How to Make Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onion, garlic, ginger, and oil in the pot

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and grate about 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (I use a small-holed cheese grater). Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

curry powder being added to the soup pot

Add one tablespoon curry powder to the sautéed vegetables and continue to sauté for one minute more.

pumpkin, lentils, and broth added to the soup pot

Next add 1 cup uncooked red lentils, 1 15oz. can of pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling), and 6 cups vegetable broth. Stir to combine the ingredients.

cooked lentil and pumpkin soup in the pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the soup up to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the lentils should be broken down and tender, resulting in a thickened soup.

Finished lentil and pumpkin soup in a pot with a ladle

Give the soup a taste and then add salt. Salt is what is really going to make the flavors pot, so don’t skip it! The amount of salt you’ll need will ultimately depend on the salt content of the broth you used, but I added about a ½ teaspoon of salt.

Four bowls of red lentil and pumpkin soup

Curried Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup - BudgetBytes.com

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Tomato Lentil Soup

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and blustery outside. This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup.

The post Tomato Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and wintry outside. The smell alone warms me from the inside out. This week I was craving a simple vegetable forward soup, so I whipped up this really easy Tomato Lentil Soup. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days, sometimes with a grilled cheese on the side. :)

Tomato lentil soup in the pot with bread and vegetables on the sides
Garnished with a little fresh parsley for visual appeal.

What Does Tomato Lentil Soup Taste Like?

This soup kind of tastes like a traditional vegetable soup, but with a slightly more tomato-y broth, plus a little earthiness from the lentils. It’s super hearty and comforting, which is exactly what I love about a good bowl of soup in the winter!

What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?

Lentils can be confusing, especially since there isn’t a lot of consistency in labeling in the United States. I used a basic brown lentil, which has a drab brown-olive color and cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering. Sometimes these lentils are labeled “green lentils” sometimes just “lentils” so to be sure you have the right kind, check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for about 20 minutes, not 45 minutes.

I do not suggest using a red, orange, or yellow lentil for this soup because they break down too easily and you’ll end up with something more along the lines of a lentil porridge than a lentil soup. :) (It would probably still taste good, though!)

How are the Leftovers?

One of the reasons I love soup is because they almost always make great leftovers, and this soup is no exception. The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. I always suggest dividing the soup into single portions just after cooking so it cools down more quickly in the refrigerator, which will give you more longevity with the leftovers. Once cooled you can transfer some to the freezer for later!

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side

Tomato Lentil Soup

This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
Total Cost $4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 279.58kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 russet potato (about 1 lb.) $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes $1.18
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • ½ tsp paprika $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots (I like smaller pieces for this recipe, so I do a quarter round slice). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the oniosn are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, peel and dice the potato into ½-inch cubes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the cubed potato, stewed tomatoes (with juices), paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top and allow the soup to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are super tender and have begun to break down slightly (this helps thicken the soup).
  • Add the soy sauce to the soup, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed (the total amount will depend on the salt content of your vegetable broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 279.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.58g | Protein: 12.17g | Fat: 5.65g | Sodium: 1148.67mg | Fiber: 7.48g
Close up side view of tomato lentil soup in the pot

How to Make Tomato Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onions carrots and garlic in a soup pot

Dice one onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice three carrots. I like to do smaller pieces of carrot for this soup, so I cut the slices into quarter rounds. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft. While the carrot and onion are sautéing, peel and dice one russet potato into ½-inch cubes.

Tomato paste added to the soup pot

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and continue to sauté for a few more minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, seasoning, and broth added to the pot

Add the cubed potato, two 15oz. cans of stewed tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup lentils (not cooked), ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp pepper, and 4 cups vegetable broth.

Soup in the pot before simmering

Stir everything to combine. Place a lid on top and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have begun to break down a bit.

Finished tomato lentil soup

After simmering the soup, stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth. I did not add any in addition to the soy sauce).

front view of a bowl full of tomato lentil soup

Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping! (I garnished with a little parsley for color, but it’s not needed to flavor this soup.)

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