Pumpkin and Carrot Split Lentil Soup

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
pumpkin carrot soup

It's soup season and just in time a new cookbook arrived at my door that I can't wait to explore in more depth. Great Homemade Soups: A Cook's Collection by Paul Gayler ought to keep me going all year round when I'm in the mood for soup, whether it be a cold wintery day or a sweltering hot one.

It truly is a soup masterclass and everything you ever need to know about the basics are pretty much covered in the book, complete with gorgeous photos and gourmet soups that are far easier to make than they look. Learn all about making perfect stocks, garnishes and toppings, and refined and subtle broths. Consommes, smooth and creamy bowls of goodness, hearty and wholesome, wild and exotic and traditional and chilled too are on the menu. And not only do we get Chef Gayler's expert instructions and recipes, he also features some choice soups from fellow chefs. Over 100 nourishing soups from around the world are served up with distinction and they won't break your grocery budget either.

As the chef notes, making a fantastic soup is an art and often the cook's reputation is on the line when soup is served up. There really is no reason to be apprehensive about soup making though, and with a few tips and some basic kitchen tools you'll wonder why you ever bought canned and pre-prepared soups.

pumpkin carrot toor dal soup

Being autumn and pumpkin time, the first soup I tried and adapted was a carrot soup with seven spices that I turned into a creamy pumpkin soup with some toor dal added for some additional nutrients and texture. Toor dal can be found at any Indian grocery store but if you can't find it or don't have it on hand, feel free to use channa dal or yellow split peas instead. For that matter, any lentil you fancy would be lovely in this soup or leave them out entirely if you choose.

I've also got my sights on a Chestnut and Fennel Soup with Sherry and Goat's Curd Gougeres, Moroccan Vegetable Soup with Green Harissa and Couscous, Creamed Wild Mushroom Soup with Cocoa and Black Bean Soup with Salsa Sofrito to name just a few of the mouthwatering bowls of goodness waiting to be simmered up.

Pumpkin and Carrot Split Lentil SoupPumpkin and Carrot Split Lentil Soup
Recipe by
Adapted from Great Homemade Soups: A Cook's Collection
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 18, 2013

Colorful and creamy pumpkin and carrot soup cooked with toor dal and Indian spicings — a delicious, warming and nourishing fall or winter soup

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 to 60 minutes

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  • 2/3 cup dried toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 2/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • small handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1 small onion or 2 to 3 shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pumpkin or canned unsweetened unspiced puréed pumpkin
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, whisked (optional)
  • Rinse the toor dal and soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat the oil over medium heat In a large heavy-bottomed pot. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. If desired, remove some of the contents from the pan and reserve for garnish.

  • Add the onion or shallots to the pan and stir for a few minutes to soften. Now the garlic, pumpkin, carrot, chilies, half of the curry powder, half of the turmeric, and cardamon seeds. Stir for 1 minute and then add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the vegetables begin to soften — about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Pour in the vegetable stock or water and stir in the remaining curry powder, turmeric and the toor dal. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.

  • Remove from heat and purée with a immersion blender or in batches in a countertop blender. Return the soup to the stove and bring the soup to a boil again, adding more vegetable stock or water if desired. Season with the garam masala and salt and pepper.

  • Remove from heat and swirl in some yogurt if using and garnish with the reserved seeds and curry leaves.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
pumpkin carrot Indian soup

More puréed soups you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Toor Dal Soup with Sweet Potato, Dried Apricots and Coconut Milk
Indian Style Cream of Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash & Cannellini Bean Soup with Spices and Toasted Pistachios
Roasted Beet Soup with Roasted Parsnip and Carrot Purées

On the top of the reading stack: The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! - Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes! by Kathy Hester

Audio Accompaniment: Marsen Jules


samanthaegreen said...

Thanks for the great recipe! I think my favourite soup is classic split green pea... so good on a cold winter day. But any blended soup involving veggies and lentils/peas usually hits the spot!

Hannah said...

Tom yum soup!

Deena Kakaya said...

Lisa this recipe is of a lovely colour! Looks very comforting x

Anonymous said...

My favorite soup is the kind of vegetable soup my Grandmother used to make; I just leave out the meat now. I always start the way she did - with a chopped cabbage - then add whatever veggies I have on hand, plus barley.

janet @ the taste space said...

Oh yes! This looks great, Lisa. One can never have too many toor dal recipes. :) I have had a hankering for black bean soup lately... and I really like a Brazilian version with a touch of mango juice.

Jan Scholl said...

I am torn between two soups...Miso with tofu and tomato chunky soup. I would easily live on one or the other.

Joanne said...

I have definitely been in a soup kind of mood lately and the curry flavors in this sound downright comforting!!

Michelle said...

We never get sick of roasted onion and tomato soup in our house. You can never go wrong with Lentils and curry though!

Stephanie said...

I think my favorite soup, now is The Mushroom, Barley and Lentil soup from this site! Peace, Stephanie

Bev said...

My favorite soup is gazpacho. I am constantly changing the spicing, veggies or beans/lentils in my cold weather soups so I hardly make the same one twice!

bnfarrell (at) rogers (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Definitely the leek and potato soup at our wedding reception!! My mom-in-law also makes a really neat coconut milk thai soup.

rickeysfortwo at yahoo dot ca

Anonymous said...

my favorite soup would be mushroom barley.

fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

Josiane said...

This soup sounds amazing - and precisely the kind of warming soup I feel like having these days, as the weather is getting chillier. Thank you for sharing the recipe, and for offering us a chance at winning a copy of the book that inspired your version!
I *love* pretty much all kinds of soups, but a favorite is my veganized version of mom's cream of leeks. Leeks are finally in season here, so I see a big batch of this in my near future!

Anonymous said...

Mushroom, mushroom, mushroom :)

-- Anne

anneandshel (at) dslnorthwest (dot) net

Anonymous said...

Love soups! My favorite is beet borscht fresh from the garden.
rdljem at telus dot net