Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

It’s grey and cold in Sydney this week. Not anything like what’s going on in North America at the moment, but I suppose everything is relative, right? When you go from blistering heat to cool and rainy virtually overnight, I suppose you crave warm comforting food, no matter where in the world you are and what season it is!

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

This lentil soup is thick and spicy- so it’s perfect when it’s cold outside. I actually used a whole teaspoon of red chili flakes, making it just hot enough to make our noses tingle a little bit while eating it. I halved the amount in the recipe below, but feel free to kick it up a notch if you like things on the spicier side.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

I’ve been trying to eat more lentils lately. Why? Well because lentils are super affordable, packed with protein, and (unlike dried beans) you don’t have to soak them for hours – so they’re ready to use immediately. All win:win criteria in my world!

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

The recipe was inspired by my Easy Lemon Lentil Soup and my Quick & Easy Indian Curry Quinoa recipes. So if you liked those recipes, you’ll want to try this one (and vice versa).

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

And did you notice my new funky place-mat? My good friends Lisette and Lindsay gave me a whole bunch of different place-mats for Christmas. Lisette noticed that I like to use different backgrounds for my food photos, so she went on a hunt for a bunch of different ones for my blog. Isn’t that so sweet? Thanks so much guys, it was such a thoughtful gift!

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

This Soup is Versatile

The coconut milk makes the soup creamy and the diced tomatoes give it a bright orange color, however, they’re completely optional. As per my Easy Lemon Lentil Soup, you only really need 6 cups of vegetable broth per 1.5 cups of red lentils. So since this soup already contains 4 cups of vegetable broth, feel-free to replace either of those cans with an additional cup of  veggie broth (each). So:

  • Replacing the coconut milk with 1 cup of broth will result in a bright red soup with and a more pronounced tomato flavor
  • Replacing the diced tomatoes with 1 cup of broth will result in a creamier soup with a stronger coconut flavor
  • Replacing BOTH the coconut milk AND diced tomatoes with 2 cups of broth will result in a soup soup with a lighter consistency but more pronounced spices, because it won’t have the coconut milk or tomatoes to temper them

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Actually, if you make the soup as-is, it’s pretty much thick enough to be considered a stew or Indian Dal. So you could toss more greens into it and serve it with some brown rice for an even heartier meal. See, I told you this recipe was versatile :)

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Freezer Greens

The addition of chopped kale or spinach is equally optional, but why not toss it in there if you have it on hand? It adds some nice color and texture to the soup, not to mention a nutritional boost. Whenever I visit my local farmer’s market here in Sydney to buy organic kale, I buy an extra head, wash it, dry it, chop it, and divide into a few freezer bags. I tossed 2 bags worth of frozen kale into this soup and it worked out perfectly.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-FreeCoconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

5.0 from 10 reviews

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Made from pantry staples, this spiced lentil soup will warm (and fill) you up. Make it an even heartier meal by serving it on a bed of brown rice. Vegan & Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (or ketchup)
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry red lentils
  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and/or vegan sour cream
Instructions
  1. In a stockpot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is translucent, a couple minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste (or ketchup), curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. {Make-Ahead: May be cooled, frozen in air-tight containers, and re-heated over medium-low heat.}
  5. Before serving, stir in the kale/spinach and garnish with cilantro and/or vegan sour cream.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free

60 Comments

  1. Stefanie says:

    Okay, this looks amazing, and so simple! I’m pretty sure I could eat lentils every day. Such a good idea to freeze the kale too! Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay, thank YOU!

      Reply
  2. Ah, this looks beautiful, and so tasty!
    Lentil soup is one of my favourites, and it wasn’t up until I moved to Glasgow six years ago that I tried it (!!! Deprivation). I love how filling it makes the soup, and how it just warms you up nicely, mmmm :)
    The placemats are so nice, and it was thoughtful of your friend coming up with how you could use them for your blog! I usually just have the same background for most of the dishes I make.

    Wishing you all the best for 2014 Angela :) x J

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I agree 100% – lentil soup is the way to go! Thank so much for comments and happy 2014 to you as well :)

      Reply
  3. Jill says:

    Angela, this is the most amazing soup yet. I love the coconut milk with the kick up curry. I didn’t have curry powder so subbed green curry paste and OMG i’m in heaven. The cilantro sealed the deal with the flavors melding in so nicely.. I also made up some basmati rice to go with it and will pack this for my lunch tomorrow, and my husband’s too… nummy.. I always go to your site to check in to see what the latest recipe is that you have.. i’m also making another batch of African Stew this afternoon as it freezes well and we love it for quick lunches at work.. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Jill! Ooooo I love the idea of using green curry paste! I will need to locate some vegan green curry paste and try that next time, thanks so much for sharing that! I’m so glad that you’re diggin’ my recipes… Thanks so much for all your support!

      Reply
  4. Beth says:

    Just wanted to let you know I tried this recipe and it was delicious! I didn’t have any full fat coconut milk on hand so I used Lite coconut milk and it was still perfectly creamy! I love how you said 4 servings because this makes 4 very hearty servings-1 serving filled me up and normally with many recipes I need 2 servings to make a meal!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ha ha! I’m all about generous servings! So glad you liked the soup. Thanks for your feedback :)

      Reply
  5. Amanda says:

    This was sooo amazing! my co-workers all asked for the recipe after smelling it in our office and my husband and kids all loved it. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow really? I’m so stoked! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that. Totally made my day :)

      Reply
  6. Candace says:

    Just wondering if the lentils should be pre-cooked or dry when they go into the soup? I’ve only ever cooked lentils and added them to things, never cooked them directly in soup. I’m also quite bad at guessing based on quantities…

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so sorry for the delay! The lentils go in dry :)

      Reply
      • Candace says:

        Great, thanks! That’s what I was thinking, but just wanted to be sure :)

        Reply
  7. Katie says:

    So good! My husband and I LOVE this soup. Love your recipes!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much, glad you both loved it :)

      Reply
  8. Max Petrich says:

    This was really great! It is my first time on your site but I will be following and trying some more of your recipes. Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay, so glad to hear it! Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  9. Michelle says:

    I found your site via pinterest. I made this tonight, and it turned out great! I will definitely make this again. Thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay, I’m so glad! Thanks for taking the time to comment ;)

      Reply
  10. How delish! I love soup & even eat on the hottest days [I just can't get enough!]. Beautiful photos, too.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thank you! I’m with you, I love soups year-round :)

      Reply
  11. Nadine says:

    Hi,
    This looks super delicious and once the roads are plowed, I’ll be on my way to the supermarket!
    How many cups of lentils do you use for four servings? I’m pretty bad with estimates.. 1-5 cups is a wide range :/

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi! It’s 1.5 cups of lentils (and in one-and-a-half). Drive safe and hope you like the soup :)

      Reply
  12. Sara says:

    Made this for dinner last night, absolutely delicious! Definitely more like a dahl at the consistency we had, but could easily be thinned out to more like a soup. Either way it was a winner!

    Reply
    • You’re right, it’s so thick that it could be considered a dahl and eaten with a side of rice (or my favorite, quinoa). Anyway, glad you liked it and thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  13. rebecca says:

    Hi Angela,
    I only have green lentils on hand. Have you tried this and will they be too mushy? Thanks.

    Reply
    • I don’t think green lentils break down as much so the soup won’t be as creamy that way… so I think it will make more of a stew? Let me know if you tried it and how it turned out? Thanks!

      Reply
  14. Krem says:

    I don’t even use broth,because I am allergic to yeast and in Germany there is yeast in everything… I just use spices,onions,garlic and a great curry powder… Creamy coconut milk,water,spices,red lentils,two slices of lime,20 Minutes and it’s done. It’s really easy,fast and delicious,one of my fav meals.

    Reply
    • Those are great substitutions, thanks for sharing them :)

      Reply
  15. yvette says:

    My husband and I LOVE this recipe. I made it for the second time last night and I’m eating the leftovers as I type. Tastes just as good when it’s reheated.

    Reply
    • Agreed! I’m eating frozen/re-heated leftovers right now myself. So glad you liked it, thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  16. Ailish says:

    This soup is simmering on my stove right now and it smells delightful and tastes even better (quality control taste tests are always mandatory). I’m so excited to try more recipes from your site :)

    Reply
    • …and I’m eating a batch of this frozen/re-heated soup now as well! So glad you like it, thanks so much for writing :)

      Reply
  17. Ava says:

    It was soooooooo yummy. Best thing I ate all week.

    Reply
    • Yay! I’m so glad to hear it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  18. Lisa says:

    This is so simple to make, doesn’t involve a ton of ingredients and it’s suuuch a delicious recipe! When trying a new recipe, I always cut the recipe in half in order not to waste ingredients if I don’t end up liking it. I was sooo sorry that I did that for this recipe. It was SO good that I wished I had lots of leftovers. I will be making this again soon and will be doubling the batch to ensure there are mroe than enough leftovers :).

    Thanks again for a dynamite recipe!

    Reply
  19. Mark. says:

    Had only green lentils and those seem to take longer to cook. Ended up adding more tomato paste and a package of what’s sold here in the US by a Jamaican company as creamed coconut: a sort of soft brick of finely puréed coconut meat: I wanted the tomato and coconut flavors to be more intense. Anyway I’m happy with the result.

    Reply
    • Oh yeah those substitutions would have really changed the recipe. Glad it still turned out well for you! Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  20. Sally says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if there is a way I could substitute powdered ginger for the fresh ginger? Or will that not have the same taste? I don’t have fresh ginger at home and I don’t really want to buy any because I am worried I will never use it again.

    Reply
    • Sorry for the delay. Yes, powdered ginger will work in a pinch. But fresh ginger is always better and here’s a tip for freezing it if you buy some and find you don’t use it that often: http://vegangela.com/2011/11/14/freezing-ginger-and-other-useful-tips/

      Reply
      • Sally says:

        Thanks! I ended up doing exactly that; buying a small piece of fresh ginger and freezing the remainder. The soup turned out perfect by the way! Excellent recipe. I will definitely be making it again (so I guess I will use the ginger after all!).

        Reply
        • YAY! I’m so glad to hear that. Fresh ginger makes such a difference, so I really try to keep it on hand at all times (even if just frozen). Thanks for following-up and letting me know how it turned out for you :)

          Reply
  21. julie says:

    Just made this and its delish! Quick, comforting and health. Perfect!

    Reply
    • Glad you liked it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  22. Maureen Martin says:

    Just made this recipe- DELICIOUS!!!! I only had 1 cup of red lentils left , so used brown lentils for the rest. Also, had carrots and zuchini in the fridge, so I chopped them and added them to the soup. I will be making this again. Thanks so much!!

    Reply
    • Yay! So glad you liked it. I love the addition of extra vegetables. It would be more of a stew or traditional curry that way. YUM!

      Reply
  23. Shy town says:

    This is soooooooooooo good. I used tomato sauce instead of paste because I don’t know how to read. Served with brown rice. Makes a good amount. Already shared with mom. It’s a keeper.

    Reply
    • Yay, glad to hear it! And since it’s a soup, I don’t think the sauce/paste would make too much of a difference :)

      Reply
  24. Matt says:

    Quick question, this looks amazing, but do you not cook the kale/spinach? Just stir it in cold?

    Reply
    • Nope – the soup will heat it enough… but feel-free to steam it separately if you really want to.

      Reply
  25. Kyle says:

    Success! Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Alice says:

    I enjoyed your recipe very very much, while cooking and obviously eating it!

    Thanks from Italy

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome. Thanks for writing ;)

      Reply
  27. Hannah says:

    This recipe is lovely! I made it despite not having any lentils, but yellow split peas were fine too. Really filling and yummy and perfect to take to work for lunch. Mmm, lentils.

    Reply
    • Good to know it works with split peas as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  28. Tia says:

    Yummy

    Reply
  29. Matt says:

    Thanks again for the reply about the kale. Just wanted to say I made this and it was AWESOME. Going to double the recipe and freeze this. The lentils make it a nice filling meal. I’ve been a vegan for about a year and a half, and this might be the best meal I’ve made yet!! Thank you!

    Reply
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