French Lentil Soup with Garlic and Thai Chili

In More Home Cooking, Laurie Colwin writes about the merits of home cooking and feeding your family. She focuses on simple recipes you can make with a young child, or a busy schedule, or both. The chapters on soup and lentils were enough to get me into the kitchen, grabbing what sounded good and chopping away. I threw this soup together and have found myself craving it since then. The Thai chili makes it peppery enough to soothe the sinuses—perfect for a chilly fall afternoon.

Spicy French Lentil Soup

Serves 4


  • 1 cup of french lentils, rinsed
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4–6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh thai chili, sliced
  • 2 vegan bouillon cubes
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • dried parsley
  • ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste


Add the lentils to a saucepan with one of the bouillon cubes. Cover with water. (For a thinner soup, add more water.) Bring to a boil and then simmer on low. You can prep the veggies while the lentils cook.

In a medium or large saucepan, sauté the onion, carrot, and celery with two big glugs of olive oil and a few pinches of salt (to keep it from browning). When the onions are translucent, add a cup or three of water along with the other bouillon cube, garlic, thyme, and thai chili. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low. Add salt, pepper, parsley, and coriander to taste. The broth should taste good before you add the lentils.

Once the lentils are soft and savory, pour them and their broth into the soup base. Taste it again, salt, taste, salt, serve, slurp, enjoy.

A Classic Salad Dressing

Greens with Classic Salad Dressing

In my family, we never left a piece of lettuce behind. From a young age, I cherished the last wilted pieces of romaine or arugula from the bottom of our wooden salad bowl. My sister and I would save room to maximize the shoveling of lettuce soaked in acidic perfection. As my love for food and cooking grew, this was the first recipe I learned to make. It can be adjusted with herbs, Dijon, cream and more, but this basic dressing is really all one needs.

Photos by Nicole Fenton
Classic Salad Dressing
Photos by Nicole Fenton

Classic Salad Dressing

Serves 4


  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dollop of Maille Dijon mustard (optional)
  • dollop of half and half or heavy cream (optional)


Mince the shallot finely. Cover it with a pinch of salt and let it macerate for a few minutes. Add lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper to taste and whisk together.

This is a fantastic dressing on its own. I switch between adding Dijon, half and half, or both depending on the rest of the meal. Enjoy!