Lentil soup with…pineapple?

Happy Thursday, everybody.  It’s the springiest day we’ve had all year, which means only one thing—lots of melting.  If this keeps up, I might even be able to do some trail running this weekend (if I can remember how).  My next 50K is two weeks away, and I got in 20 miles on the roads last weekend.  I’m thinking it’s a little late to try to do anything longer, and really, what kind of ultrarunner would I be if I adequately prepared for the distance?  Answer: a lame one.

When you’re through here, make sure you check out my new Running Shorts post, “Is junk mileage making you slower?”  I got a laugh when I found the perfect picture for the post, considering my upcoming change…

New food, still no meat

I have a great new vegan recipe for you today, the first of many, I predict.  Isa Moskowitz, the vegan-cooking rock star in charge of the Post Punk Kitchen and co-author of Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, has given me permission to share some of the recipes from the book with you No Meat Athlete readers!  So I’ve made Veganomicon my featured cookbook for March, during which time I’ll post my favorite recipes from it.  Who said your old pal the NMA never got you anything?

First up is one that I had to try when I saw the name: Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple.  Now I don’t know about you, but to me, pineapple and lentils sound like strange bowlfellows.  I associate lentils with heavy, sometimes spicy, curry flavors, maybe with some wilted spinach.  Or something like the wine-braised lentils over toast.

But it turns out that there’s more to this recipe that makes it all work.  The homemade chile powder is made with coriander, which adds some of those bright, island-y flavors.  And a little lime juice goes a long way to give the whole soup a fresh, shoes-off taste fit to be paired with a good strong margarita and a beach bar.  Or endurance training in the snow.

The soup came out really well, with the grilled pineapple sealing the deal.  And hands-on time is minimal.  Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

An admission: I couldn’t find ancho chiles at the store, so I substituted a tablespoon of standard chile powder, whose only ingredient was ground chile pepper.  I bet the real thing’s even better.  If you do it, I’d better hear about it.

Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple (from Veganomicon)

Serves 6.  Time: 45 minutes.

Chile powder:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 dried ancho chile, seeds removed, ripped into bite-sized pieces


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups green lentils, washed
  • 7-8 cups vegetable stock or water or a mix of both
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice, or to taste
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6-8 pineapple rings
  • Slices of lime
  • Hot sauce

We’re going to make our own ancho chile powder! Preheat a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the cumin seeds and ancho chile pieces and stir often, until fragrant and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a spice grinder (we use a clean coffee grinder) or small food processor and grind to a coarse powder.  Some bigger pieces of chile are okay.  Add the coriander seeds and pulse a few times to crush them—you don’t want them completely ground to a powder, just broken up pretty well.

Preheat a big stockpot over medium heat.  Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the chile powder and mix into the onions.  Add the bay leaves, salt, lentils, and 7 cups of water.  Mix well.  Raise the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.  Once the soup is boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Meanwhile, heat your grill pan over high heat or preheat a broiler.  Spray your grill pan with cooking spray and grill the pineapple slices for 4 minutes on each side, or until grill lines appear.  If using a broiler, cook on one side for 3 minutes and on the other for about 2 minutes, until the pineapple begins to brown and slightly caramelize.

Once the lentils are tender, add an extra cup of water/stock if you think the soup needs thinning.  Add the lime juice and stir.

Remove the bay leaf.  Use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher to mash it up a bit, until the desired thickness is achieved.  Taste and adjust the salt.

To serve:

Ladle into bowls and top with a pineapple ring, a slice of lime, and a few dots of hot sauce.



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  1. Sarah W. says:

    looks like I might have to add this to the menu sometime in the near future!!! i’ve been dying to try it. love veganomicon!!!

  2. This sounds interesting. I’m a huge fan of ham and pineapple, so maybe lentils can stand in for pork? I’m not convinced, but I’d give it a shot. Plus, I’m guessing the heat and the sweet contrast well.
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..20 Minutes =-.

  3. That grilled pineapple is calling my name!
    Hope you’re not in for flooding when all that snow melts.
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Collard Greens with Adzuki Beans =-.

  4. I love anything with pineapple! And I also love lentil soup. I’ve gotta say this combination never crossed my mind, but it definitely sounds grand!
    .-= Aubree Cherie´s last blog ..Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream =-.

  5. GREAT cookbook pick! Looking forward to these posts…
    I like your description of the taste as “shoes-off” :]

  6. I think this is the Vegan Bible-excellent recipes! I haven’t tried this one, and i love the unique combination of flavors! Since Lentils are always a staple in my pantry i’ll have to try it out.
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Stevita Stevia =-.

  7. Bridget says:

    This has nothing to do with the post but I had to share with the running community- On my 10-miler I ran across a pedestrian bridge that someone had spray painted “You are beautiful just the way you are” on. What a wonderful thing to see while running!

    • Hey Bridget, I love that kind of stuff too. It’s great how things like that can make you feel incredible when you’re running. Sometimes even stuff that would seem cheesy when I’m not running gives me the chills while I am running! They say emotion is created by motion, and I really believe it.

  8. This sounds yummy!
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..A Survivor =-.

  9. You’ve inspired me not to be a lurker!! I love this blog and the fact that you can fuel runs being vegetarian AND not be eating oats all day. hahah
    I’m only starting off on this running journey but I am learning so much from your blog. It’s so thoughtfully planned and intuitively laid out, I just wanna thank you for all the great stuff!!! 🙂

  10. You know, pineapple is a strange fruit. It always seems weird to hear it talked about in dishes other than the fruit bowl, but once you taste it cooked you’ll never go back. Pineapple is amazing!

  11. Heston Blumenthal, chef of the famous Fat Duck, combines lentils with pineapple (the tenderizing action of pineapple works well with the high-protein content of lentils) and cooks his lentils in *cough* bottled water *cough* because of it’s low level of calcium (calcium hardens the lentil’s skins)

  12. I have made this dish many times now. The Pineapple really sets off the lentil/ancho flavor. I love the ancho smoked flavor. The recipe is missing the amount of Ancho Chili Powder to use. I have used 1 tablespoon.

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