Sunday, September 29, 2013

Donna Hay's Red Lentil, Lemon and Yogurt Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I bought my first Donna Hay cookbook shortly after moving to Hawaii and, deciding that I wanted to be a better cook--spending countless exploring the cookbook section of the bookstores. I stumbled across Flavours (mine is the 2000 Canadian-published version), and was entranced by the beautifully-styled photos and simple recipes of this powerhouse Australian cook, food-stylist and author. Total foodie porn--I was hooked! I know have 16 Donna Hay cookbooks and all of her monthly magazines but sadly, at last count I only had 9 of her recipes posted. That's about to change as we welcome Donna Hay to I Heart Cooking Clubs, the weekly virtual foodie event that I co-host. Finally, I'll have 6 months to pour through those books and magazine stacks and make a weekly Donna Hay recipe. 

One of my goals is to post at least one recipe from all of her books in my collection during the 6 months. To that end, I opened up Modern Classics Book 1, which has a pretty healthy soup chapter. I like to "welcome" the new IHCC chefs in with a warm, nourishing bowl of soup, figuring if a chef and I click on a soup recipe, we are destined to cook well together. Even though Donna and I have already clicked on soups (Creamy Potato and Smoked Salmon Soup, Udon Noodles with Tofu & Asparagus in Miso Broth & Cannellini Bean and Fresh (Roasted) Tomato Broth), I thought I would keep with the practice. There were plenty of soups but I was drawn to the simple Lentil, Lemon & Yogurt Soup since I have been craving lentil soup and I liked the sound of the yogurt/cilantro topping.

Lentil, Lemon & Yogurt Soup
Adapted From Modern Classics Book 1 by Donna Hayes
(Serves 4)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 cups (1 1/2 pints) vegetable stock
4 cups (1 3/4 pints) water
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind
300g (10 oz) roughly chopped baby spinach, optional
sea salt and black pepper

1 cup (8oz) thick Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, onion, cumin and ground coriander and cook for 6 minutes or until the onion is well browned. Add the lentils, stock, water and lemon rind and bring to the boil.

Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir through the spinach, if using. 

To serve, stir through the salt and pepper , then ladle the soup into mugs or bowls. Combine yogurt and cilantro and spoon on if desired. 

Notes/Results: Satisfying, soothing and flavorful, a tasty little bowl of soup. Cumin and coriander are two of my favorite herbs and they always work well with lentils. The lemon zest brightens things up--as does the additional lemon juice I squeezed in. The spinach is listed as optional but I say add it--both for the color and the nutrition.The topping is good and adds a tangy taste and creamy mouthfeel when stirred into the soup. Fast, easy and delicious, I would make this soup again.  

We officially kick off cooking with Donna tomorrow and I'll be linking this up to the "G'Day Donna Hay" post. You'll be able to see the dishes that the other IHCC participants welcome Donna with by following the links on that post. Or, join in and cook along with us! 

There are fall-friendly soups and a salad in the Souper Sundays kitchen this week--let's take a look!

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food brings us Fresh Shiitake Mushroom Soup and says, "For a quick-cooking soup like this, fresh mushrooms is usually my preference compared to the dried version.  The fresh variety has lighter flavors compared to the intense dried shiitake mushrooms which is often a better use in braised or stewed dishes, or typically in longer-duration cooking to develop the deep savory flavors from dried mushrooms."

Janet of The Taste Space shares a vegan version of a classic Vietnamese dish, this Wild Mushroom and Minted Brussels Faux Pho. She says, "The ingredient list is daunting, but it is a fairly simple soup to whip up. The abundance of vegetables creates a flavourful soup without too much of a soup base. The broth is nicely flavoured with ginger, star anise, tart lime juice, salty tamari and aromatic toasted sesame oil. Fresh mint adds a beautiful brightness. For the vegetables, seared Brussels sprouts, baby bok choy and meaty mushrooms make up the bulk of the soup."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog was also feeling the lentils this week with a hearty Easy Red Lentil Soup. She says, "Are you ready for the change of season? This easy red lentil soup is a perfect fall soup. Red lentils are hearty and taste very different from the more traditional brown lentil. They have the consistency of split peas but with a milder and sweeter taste. These rich orange legumes fit perfectly into the fall color theme, providing a nutritious soup for a chilly fall evening. Eat it with salad and a sandwich for "on the go" meal."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes shares this Beet and Orange Salad with a Citrus-Cumin Vinaigrette and says, "First of all I had purple beets, which lovingly spread their purpleness to my hands, face and all over the oranges.  I was also supposed to julienne the beets, but my new fancy mandoline hadn’t arrived in the mail yet, so I used the shredder dish from my food processor.  So, even with all these caveats that I have thrown at this recipe, it was still wonderful.  A fresh, tasty, happy salad."  

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week! If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I don't think I have ever tried a recipe by Donna Hay... totally not on my radar, but it sounds like I will get a nice introduction over the next 6 months. Woohoo! :)

  2. Gluten Free A-Z BlogSeptember 29, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I'm also not familiar with Donna Hay, but I love the sound of the red lentil recipe you posted. Can't wait to try it. It amazes me how versatile red lentils are. They can be made in so many different types of soups. Thanks for hosting..

  3. Lovely autumnal soups!

    Donna Hay's Flavours was such a game changer, but I found all her books really similar after that.

  4. I love your idea for welcoming each new chef in with soup! Lentil soups are one of my favorites, and I especially love these bright fresh flavors!

  5. www.teczcape.blogspot.comSeptember 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Love the finishing touch of yogurt to this soup!

  6. This lentil soup sounds great! I bet it would be good cold, too... Mmmmmmm!

  7. I love lentil soups and know that this one would be a keeper for me ... our weather is changing to crisper days at this point and a pot of soup on the stove will become the regular occurence at our place ... am bookmarking this recipe for one of the first pots!

  8. I love that you welcome each new chef with a nourishing soup and this one looks like a winner, simple but tasty.

  9. Joyce, Kitchen FlavoursOctober 4, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Hi Deb, I knew that you would somehow come up with a delicious soup from DH! This looks really good and flavourful!
    A great start off with Donna Hay!

  10. Couscous & ConsciousnessOctober 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Gorgeous, Deb - I love the idea of nourishing, comforting lentils, brightened up with the flavours of lemon, cumin and coriander. The tangy yoghurt topping seems like the perfect finishing touch, and I would definitely add the spinach.

  11. Hi, Deb...I'm back to join in the fun at IHCC for a bit with one of my favorite chefs, Donna Hay! You have 16 books...more than me, I only have a dozen. A small group of us have been cooking DH recipes for the past 2 years in a group called Wednesdays with Donna Hay and the recipe for this coming week is this soup! We pick the recipes a month ahead and I was really looking forward to this one...after reading your post on it, I am now really really looking forward to it! Gorgeous photos, always gorgeous photos and texts over here, am looking forward to being part of IHCC again. xo

  12. I love the idea of getting cozy with a bowl of this lentil soup, so thick and comforting. Adding the spinach is a must for sure, both for color and nutrition. It's just the thing I need right now!

  13. I'm just being introduced to Donna Hay, but I have to say that I could sift through her food pictures for hours. Really, really nice! Absolutely digging the lemon in this lentil soup.

  14. Hi, Deb. We made this soup this week for Wednesdays with Donna Hay (there are 5 of us). I liked this one. I have just learned to like lentils so this was the perfect soup.


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