Lentil and Tortellini Soup


I had my husband pick up some tortellini from the store with the intent of making this recipe, but then we kept making other items, going out to eat, or going to someone’s house for dinner. Eventually, my husband was wanting just tortellini with marinara..which is a reasonable request. But I wanted to be sure I tried this lentil soup recipe first before we used up all the tortellini in a normal pasta dish. It worked out. I made the dish. We have tortellini left for some other normal pasta creation on a different day.

This recipe is originally from 101Cookbooks food blog by Heidi Swanson. I have one of her cookbooks, Near and Far, which I recently picked up one evening after putting Roshan to bed and got sucked into. Her photos and travels are so beautiful. I felt a small amount of longing for her San Fran, jet-setting, sans kids lifestyle. But then I close the book and go upstairs and listen to my baby’s heavy deep sleep breathing and I remember that  I am right where I want to be.

I decided I wanted to try a few of her recipes. I don’t always feel they are really recipes…many of her dishes are very obvious and simple. When I first saw this dish on Instagram, it really looked appealing to me in the photo, but the ingredients sounded all wrong. Curry powder and turmeric with tomatoes and tortellini? It felt culturally confused. I initially decided I would swap the seasonings for oregano, basil, etc- a more Mediterranean/European flavor profile. But for some reason when I started cooking this, I just decided why not try something different. So I followed her spices totally thinking I would be sorry later. I wasn’t sorry. It was really good. Different than what I would have got with basil and oregano, but delicious nonetheless. For some reason, the curry powder didn’t stick out the way I thought it would. Everything blended so nicely and seemed so obvious in each bite. It is a recipe I would definitely repeat. And not to mention it was easy as hell for a quick weeknight dinner after work.

We spent the MLK holiday at my SIL’s house. It was also Makar Sankranti and my in-law’s wedding anniversary, so we celebrated together. My SIL made arroz con leche instead of the traditional kheer, and it was so tasty! I’ll have to post it some time. We also had mongoda with chutney and lots of tasty drinks. We stayed the night so that we could all visit longer and not be restricted with baby sleep schedules (which are VERY restricting sometimes). We played Ticket to Ride at night. I did horribly and did not make any of my routes. I don’t know what happened. LOL. But it was a lot of fun. Oh and in the morning we had uttapam waffles which were amazing. Roshi loved eating them almost as much me. All in all, it was a good holiday and a much needed break from work.

Lentil and Tortellini Soup


  • 1 package frozen spinach thawed, moisture squeezed out in cheese cloth, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs ghee, optional
  • bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or more depending on how spicy you like it and how spicy your curry powder already is
  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, with liquid (I prefer Cento tomatoes for the whole ones)
  • 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups water depending on desired consistency
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini (the better the quality, the better the soup)
  • grated cheese for serving


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil. Add the bay leaf and onion. Saute until the onion is beginning to brown on the edges. Add the garlic and cook until the raw garlic smell goes away.
  2. Add the curry powder, paprika, turmeric, chili flakes and stir well.
  3. Break up the tomatoes by hand as you add them to the pot. Add the tomato liquid as well to the pot.
  4. Stir in the lentils and add the water. I added about 4.5 cups of water and the soup was still thick. You may want to add 5 cups if you want it thinner.
  5. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes-ish, until the lentils are cooked through.
  6. Stir in the salt and tortellini. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes or according to package instructions until tortellini are cooked through.
  7. Stir in the spinach and simmer another 1 or 2 minutes. Test seasoning and adjust as needed.
  8. Serve with grated cheese, freshly cracked black pepper, and a swirl of EVOO or ghee.

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