Ruth's Red Lentil and Potato Soup Recipe -
Ruth's Red Lentil and Potato Soup Recipe
  • READY IN 1 hr

Ruth's Red Lentil and Potato Soup

Recipe by  

"I made up this recipe one chilly weeknight to stave off a cold. I was surprised at how delicious the soup was! The file powder makes it nice and thick, but it may be left out. A warm loaf of sourdough bread is all you need to complete your meal!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    45 mins

    1 hr


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery. Cook until tender. Mix in the potatoes, carrot, and garlic. Continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are well coated with butter. Season the mixture with allspice, cumin, cayenne pepper, cloves, and pepper.
  2. Pour in the vegetable broth, and mix in the lentils. Add water, increasing the amount as necessary to cover all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and stir in the kale. Cook, stirring occasionally, 35 to 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Mix in the cilantro and file powder. Continue cooking about 5 minutes, or to desired thickness.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 07, 2004

I brought this to a potluck tonight and everyone loved it. I had made these changes: 1 tsp of cumin instead of 1/4 tsp, 1/2 package of frozen spinach instead of kale, added about 1 tsp of garam masala. I didn't have any cilantro, but I think that would have been good. Also, I thought the vegetable would get too mushy cooked the way the recipe said, so I cooked the lentils with the broth and spices (only took about 15 minutes) and then added the sauted onions through garlic and cooked until done.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 24, 2012

I'm starting to hope I did something wrong here, because I thought this soup, even with the seasonings, was bland, bland, bland. Even adding a few shakes of salt did not give this soup any real flavor. Only changes I made were normal onion instead of a sweet onion, no file powder, and regular lentils instead of red, but I don't see that throwing off the flavor that much.

Sep 24, 2010

Delicious! This soup has a very hearty and delightfully unique taste. The fact that it is vegetarian and could easily be made vegan by subbing olive for the butter is an added bonus. My lentils were tender in only 25 minutes; lentil cooking times vary greatly depending on how long they have been stored, so I would advise checking them to make sure that you do not end up with mush. I used 1 teaspoon of cumin and did adjust the seasoning at the end by adding some Himalayan sea salt, which I thought was sorely needed, perhaps because I used low sodium vegetable broth. File powder is ground sassafras leaves used for both flavoring and thickening. I don’t think it was necessary to thicken this soup but the file powder in addition to the other spices added a wonderful complexity to the flavor. It can be ordered from if your grocery does not carry it. I will definitely make this soup again!

Feb 14, 2007

I love this! I whipped this up on the snowiest day of the year and am thrilled with the results. I did not have all of the ingredients, so here are my modifications: Did not use file powder. I don't think it's needed as the soup is just the right consistency in my opinion. No allspice, so increased the amount of cumin and added garam masala as first reviewer did. Added a little bit of dried ginger (sorry, i didn't measure). No Kale on hand - used frozen spinach instead, with great results. I used a little more butter than what was called for and once soup was done and had cooled ever so slightly, I added some nonfat sour cream which I think made it extra delightful! I normally don't use salt when cooking anyway, but did add some garlic salt at the end as I am a garlic lover. I also used dried cilantro as I didn't have fresh. Play around with this one; it's very versatile! Thank you for the recipe!

Mar 19, 2006

I was shocked! This is really good and there is no salt in it! Definitely a keeper (I didn't add file powder. I don't even know what it is.)

Mar 02, 2009

I enjoyed this recipe. Like another reviewer said, I used 1 tsp of cumin. In addition I did not use any potatoes because where soup is concerned I am trying to get everyone to eat more veggies. So I used more carrots (about 3 large) and a whole bunch of kale. It was very tasty and nutritious. The spices make a variation from the normal soups I make.

Nov 18, 2004

This is one of the best lentil soups I have tried.

Jan 23, 2012

I was cleaning out the fridge and wanted to use up some kale, celery, parsey and potatoes. This soup is full-bodied and delicious. What a great recipe.


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  • Calories
  • 164 kcal
  • 8%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 29 g
  • 9%
  • Cholesterol
  • 5 mg
  • 2%
  • Fat
  • 2.5 g
  • 4%
  • Fiber
  • 6.9 g
  • 27%
  • Protein
  • 7.4 g
  • 15%
  • Sodium
  • 172 mg
  • 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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