I went through a major lentil obsession when I first discovered them after college. In search of easy lunch ideas, I came across pre-steamed lentils at the grocery store and quickly became addicted. At one point I was having them every single day for lunch, and always topped with some marinara sauce and cheese. While delicious, I eventually tired of having the same lunch each day. By now I’ve realized that there are so many different ways to enjoy lentils, such as in soups and in Indian dishes. This curried coconut lentil soup is one of my favorite soups right now – it’s so flavorful, healthy and filling and will warm you up wonderfully on a chilly day.
I recently heard that over 1/3 of India’s population classify themselves as vegetarians. This doesn’t surprise me at all, as I’ve long been impressed with the depth and variety of Indian vegetarian dishes available. Lentils are quite popular in India and are a great source of nutrition for vegetarians, as they are packed with protein, fiber and iron. I think that red lentils, which I used in this soup, pair especially well with curry spices and creamy coconut milk. The end result has just the right amount of flavor and creaminess without being overly spicy or rich.
I love serving this with some toasted almonds and cilantro on top. It’s great as leftovers, too – I make a large batch and bring it to work throughout the week.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 and ½ cups uncooked red split lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 14 oz. can of coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Toasted almonds and cilantro to garnish
- In a large pot or dutch oven, add oil, onion and garlic and sautee over medium heat until onion is softened.
- Add lentils and stir for about one minute.
- Add remaining ingredients and increase heat to high; when the soup begins to boil, return the heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are softened but still maintaining their shape. Add additional cayenne and salt to taste.
- Garnish with almonds and cilantro and serve immediately.
Note: Each curry powder will be slightly different in terms of its underlying mix of spices. The curry powder I use already has some turmeric and cayenne in it, which is why I only used an additional 1/2 teaspoon of each of those individual spices. Be sure to check the label of your curry to see what spices are already included in it and adjust the remaining spice levels accordingly.
Amanda Paa says
oh this sounds simple and delicious. i love lentils for their affordability and health benefits too. i eat vegetarian about 90% of the time and i would say we eat lentils almost every week.
Good point about the affordability, Amanda. I bet you have some great lentil recipes if you make them every week – let me know if you have any on your blog!
Katie @ Whole Nourishment says
Indian curries are one of my favorites and I love how lentil soups can be such a quick warming dinner. This looks lovely and perfect for the start of our cooler months!
Katie, I agree – lentil soups are such a great quick dinner in the cooler months. I’m glad you like Indian curries too! I am having so much fun experimenting with Indian spices lately.
I love the bright color of this dish and intend to make it this weekend after it cools off just a bit. I do need to check out some different curries, though, as I am pretty sure that the stuff in my spice cabinet was purchased in the previous century! It seems very stale. A trip to Penzey’s is on my calendar this week!
You would love the Sweet Curry blend from Penzey’s – I use it in so many Indian dishes. I will probably need a refill soon, so we should go to Penzey’s and the Twisted Olive sometime this month!
Looks like this one offers a great balance between sweet, savory and spicy. I love all those Thai curries that use coconut milk as a base, and can easily imagine this being a flavorful (and healthier) variation. You’re giving lentils a well-deserved spotlight.
We have many fond memories of delicious coconut curries from Lemongrass, don’t we! I think you’d like this because the vegetable broth and tomatoes balance out the coconut milk, so it’s not overly rich. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Now I don’t have to speculate. I can say from first-hand experience that this truly is the most delicious lentil dish I’ve ever had! Everything came together perfectly. The cayenne pepper gave it just the right kick, I thought, and the rest of the spices were great in concert with the other ingredients.
I don’t have a whole lot of experience with lentils, but I’ve been wanting to incorporate them more. I have green lentils on hand, would those work just as well as red in this recipe?
Hi Bonnie – I haven’t made the recipe with green lentils before, but I think it would be fine if that’s what you have on hand. You would need to adjust the cooking time, though, because green lentils take a bit longer to cook. Let me know how it goes!
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Lovely recipe, Julia! I am a lentil fan and find them so satisfying. I just bought a package of beluga lentils yesterday and am excited to start experimenting as I’ve never tried them before. This recipe sounds like something I would love due to the curry flavors, especially the coconut milk 😀 ! And look how the prep is? I’ll take it!!
This looks so delicious, I may just have to make it for dinner tonight!
Thank you, Grace! I hope you enjoy it 🙂