Healthy Eating: Red lentil curry with homemade naan a perfect autumn meal

Red lentil curry

We are in the first week of autumn and having glorious weather. Although the recent rains knocked off many leaves, the trees in my neighborhood offer a spectacular range or reds, oranges and yellows.  It makes my daily walks an outdoor gallery of art. Nature at its finest. As the days become shorter and cooler, one of my favorite healthy meals is a bowl of hearty soup and bread.  I’ve been making chili with cornbread, lentil soup with toasted sourdough, vegetable soups with crackers…you get the idea. I encourage you to make a large pot of soup that will last a few days. You can also freeze part of the batch for a quick meal later.  Consider serving your soup with different breads/crackers and a green salad. This meal is filling and nutritious and you can appeal to the flavor profiles that you might be craving.

Lentil soup is one of my favorites. Lentils are a healthy healthy legume and they are quick and easy to cook. In addition, they are inexpensive. They are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.  They are made up of over 25% protein and are a great source of iron.  Lentils are high in fiber which supports gut health. Furthermore, they contain a broad range of beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, many of which protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Here is a easy and satisfying version of a curry soup.  I’ve also added a bonus recipe for naan bread to serve. Feel free to add more chili powder and cayenne if you like your curries spicier.  Remember you can always add more hot sauce at the table, but you can’t take it away once you have added it to the soup pot. As our days grow longer during these challenging times, I want to encourage you continue to nurture yourself with good food, daily exercise and kindness to yourself and others. 

Red Lentil Curry


1 tablespoon coconut oil⠀
4 cloves garlic, minced⠀
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled ⠀
1 tablespoon minced fresh turmeric
1-2 Serrano peppers, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin⠀
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander⠀
1 teaspoon chili powder⠀
2 teaspoons curry powder ⠀
1 teaspoon garam masala ⠀
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper⠀
1 cup red lentils ⠀
2 cups vegetable broth⠀
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes⠀
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened creamy almond butter ⠀
Sea salt to taste⠀
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste⠀

1/2 a small lemon, juiced⠀

For serving: fresh cilantro or parsley, Basmati or Jasmine rice and naan bread ⠀


1. Heat a large, heavy skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, and Serrano pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning. Then add the spices (cumin through cayenne pepper) and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. 

2. Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and the crushed tomatoes and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 20-22 minutes until the lentils are cooked through and have softened. ⠀

3. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk, almond butter, and salt & pepper to taste Continue cooking on low heat, uncovered for 5-7 minutes. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat. 

4. If you want your lentils to be creamier and more on the puréed side, use an immersion blender to lightly purée the curry. ⠀

5. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve with rice and/or naan bread. ⠀
Homemade Naan Bread


  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 2 1/2-3 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 large egg 
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. Once frothy, whisk in the oil, yogurt, and egg until evenly combined.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, pour the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour, a half cup at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups later).
  3. At that point, turn the ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. You’ll end up using between 2.5 to 3 cups flour total. The dough should be smooth and very soft but not sticky. Avoid adding excessive amounts of flour as you knead, as this can make the dough too dry and stiff.
  4. Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 1 hour). After it rises, gently flatten the dough into a disc and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
  5. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about 1/4 inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface . Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well.
  6. Stack the cooked flat bread on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm as you cook the remaining pieces. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs!

Tips: For the most bubbles, don’t roll out the ball of dough until just before it is ready to be placed in the skillet. I experimented with different skillet temperatures and found that a medium heat produces the most bubbles in the dough and does not burn the surface.

—  By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at


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