We just went through one of the worst cold snaps ever. It was the kind of cold where you put off anything that means going outside…grocery shopping, getting gas and walking the dog. At times like that, I find that my cupboards contain only staples and so it means being creative with my cooking.

That’s how this lentil soup was born. Although there many lentil soup recipes, when I found I only had canned lentils, onions,  a few stalks of celery and some carrots,  in order to make a flavourful soup it was time to get creative with my spices. As dahl (curried lentils) has always been one of my favourite dishes it inspired me to add curry powder, cumin and garam masala to the soup.

It was absolutely delicious. Cooking with lentils makes sense these days. They

  • have an outstanding nutrient profile and contain protein and fibre and are high in fibre.
  • green or brown lentils only have to be soaked for 30 minute. Or do what I did: use low sodium canned lentils or rinse canned lentils well to get rid of excess sodium.
  • are local and sustainable.

When I eventually ventured outside, I picked up some spinach and broccoli to add in at the last minute for colour and nutrition. If you like, you can add a twist of lemon to wake up your taste buds. I topped the soup with Greek yogurt to complement the hot curry. You can adjust the spices to suit your taste…start with a little and then increase until you reach your ideal level of heat.

Do you enjoy hot, spicy foods?

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Written by a Registered Dietitian.

Lentil Soup with a Twist
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes


3 tbsp (45 ml) butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp (5 ml) cumin seeds
1/2 tsp (2 ml) curry powder
1 tbsp (15 ml) garam masala
1 18 oz (540 ml) low sodium canned lentils, drained and rinsed
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 1/2 cups (1.6 L) chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups (500 ml) chopped broccoli
2 cups (500 ml) loosely packed spinach
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
3/4 cup (175 ml) Greek yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add cumin seeds, curry powder, garam masala, lentils, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add broth. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup. It should be thick but have some texture left. You can also use a blender to blend it in batches.
  4. Heat the soup again until it simmers and add broccoli. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add spinach until wilted.
  5. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  6. Top each serving with 2 tbsp (30 ml) Greek yogurt.


Read more by: Lee
Lee is a registered dietitian and nutrition educator at Dairy Farmers of Canada, who lives in St Albert with her teen-aged son; gregarious lovebirds; two dogs, Remi and Farley; and a gecko name Tookey. She is a fitness buff who can be seen running or walking on the neighborhood trails. Lee loves good food and is a fan of quick, easy recipes that make her look like a gourmet cook.

Alberta Milk, as a member of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), supports, collaborates and relies on the four Alberta-based DFC registered dietitians to deliver and develop nutrition resources, programs and communications to promote health and wellness. As registered dietitians we are credible, balanced and science-based. We belong to the College of Dietitians of Alberta and follow their Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Our job is to translate the complex science of nutrition into practical advice for the general population. It is our view that milk and milk products are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet based on the four food groups, which is supported by health organizations such as Health Canada and Dietitians of Canada.

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