Curried Lentil and Split Pea Soup


While I am a firm believer that we make our own luck, I’m also not going to knock a tradition that “brings” good luck. Hey, why tempt fate?

That’s why this New Years Day we ate lentils for dinner.

In many cultures, legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are symbolic of money and it’s considered good luck to eat them on the new year.

In Italy, it’s tradition to eat sausages and green lentils. Germans also pair legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice. And, of course, in the Southern US, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john.

I, of course, couldn’t just make regular lentil soup. I like tradition, but I like to mess with it too. I’d been dying to do a take on a curried lentil soup recipe I’d found years ago in a magazine.

The result: It was crazy easy to make. If you love curry like we do, then it’s safe to say you’ll think it’s also crazy delicious. Plus, the yellow color is kind of amazing too.

Photos by Renato Ghio
Curried Lentil and Split Pea Soup
Serves 4-6


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried chile pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 7 cups broth or water
  • Salt, to taste


  1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium high heat.
  2. Toss in the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the turmeric, curry powder, bay leaves and chile pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils, split peas and broth.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. When the lentils and split peas are tender but not mushy you’re good to go.
  7. Season with a pinch or two of salt and serve.

And so it was by the fire that we dined on soup and prepared for the new year ahead.

What are your New Years Day food traditions?

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