If you’re not yet on the lentil train, let me make some introductions. Meet the tiny round legume that first made its name in Indian cuisine and has now reached cult-level status among anyone trying to eat a more plant-based diet. Lentils pack tons of protein (1 cup contains 18 grams), plus they’re full of iron, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. Yes, I would actually venture to call them a superfood, which is why over the last year, I’ve started tossing them into soups, salads, and other dishes to round out any meal—especially when I want to skip the animal protein. My easy coconut curry red lentil soup is a weekly go-to (and my kids love it!).
I’ve been making some version of this coconut curry red lentil soup for a while, and am constantly tweaking the spices and which veggies I throw into the mix. Sometimes I use sweet potatoes instead of carrots, or spinach instead of kale. Occasionally I’ll throw in some cauliflower or trimmed green beans. But these are constants: lots of curry powder, creamy coconut milk, and the fact that I always feel awesome after eating this soup. It gives me that “totally satisfied without feeling weighed down” vibe that can be hard to come by.
Bonus points: This soup is made completely in one pot so clean-up is a breeze, and I often prep it completely on Sunday so it can be quickly rewarmed when I get home from work during the week.
One note about lentils: they are notorious for making some people gassy… and I’m one of them. Here are a couple of strategies that have been successful for me:
- Chew your food really thoroughly so that you’re basically doing half the digestive work before the lentils even hit your gut.
- Try soaking your lentils overnight before cooking them. This step removes the lectins and anti-nutrients from the lentils, making them easier to digest. Here’s a quick how-to.
This post was originally published on January 9, 2020, and has since been updated.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 2-inch piece ginger, sliced
- 4 large carrots, sliced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 4 cups water
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 cup split red lentils
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 5 large kale leaves (lacinato or curly is fine), stems removed and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- optional garnish: plain yogurt, cilantro leaves, shredded coconut
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and carrots in olive oil until veggies have softened.
- Add curry powder and stir together, then add remaining ingredients (except garnishes.)
- Simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
- Ladle into bowls, and top with yogurt, cilantro, and coconut. Eat!
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Made this tonight with ingredients I had on hand and it was super yummy! Thank you.
Where is your sweater from? It’s gorgeous!
I only have brown lentils on hand. Will they still work? I know they are not as soft when cooked as red lentils so I may have just answered my own question ?.
This was a hit, a 5 star soup base easily customizable by switching up some of the veggies. I subbed boiled potatoes and green beans for the zucchini and added them 10 mins before soup was done w the kale, then stirred in 1/2 c coconut milk @ the end and Yummy
Very good recipe! I subbed in mango juice for orange since I’m not crazy about orange but love mango with curry. Turned out great! Next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll also add shrimp and leave out the shredded coconut; the coconut bits added a rather odd texture (tho we loved the flavor of the coco milk).
wow – made exactly as you said and it’s DELICIOUS!