With lots of fresh veggies and healthy lentils simmered in a flavorful coconut broth, this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup is a delicious meal in a bowl!
When I handed Scott (my meat-loving husband) a bowl of this plant-based, super healthy Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup for dinner one evening I wasn't sure what the response would be. I loved it and couldn't believe the delicious flavor that the simple recipe had produced. When Scott took the first spoonful and said, "Wow, this is delicious!", I knew we had a winner!
This Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup is a recipe I adapted from Epicurious. They sent an email last week featuring their "70 all-time most popular recipes". Having a curiosity for all things culinary, I clicked on the link and scrolled through the recipes. When I saw this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup, I stopped in my tracks. It not only looked and sounded really delicious, but the recipe creator is also one of my favorite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi.
Yotam Ottolenghi is a genius in the culinary world. He currently resides and has numerous restaurants and little cafés in London but he's originally from Israel. He's a culinary magician when it comes to vegetables and spice combinations and SO many other things. He's also written numerous cookbooks.
All that to say, I knew before I made this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup that it would be wonderful. I did adapt it a bit, adding more veggies and fresh herbs, but the basic recipe is his.
Are you familiar with red lentils? If not, you're missing out on something wonderful. Red lentils are not only super healthy, but they're also beautiful little stars in the culinary world
When you purchase red lentils you'll note that they're really more orange in color than red. But something magical happens when they're cooked... the reddish-orange color is metamorphosized to a gorgeous golden yellow.
Red lentils cook quickly, have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor and, as mentioned above, are packed full of nutritional benefits.
Little nutritional powerhouses
Here are some of the nutritional facts about red lentils:
- They're high in protein - a one-cup serving of red lentils has 17.8 grams of protein which satisfies 32% of the daily protein requirement for men and 38% for women.
- Because red lentils are high in protein and fiber, they can help with weight reduction. How does this work? The fiber helps you feel satiated quicker and slows down the rate at which carbs enter the bloodstream thereby keeping blood sugar at a good level. Protein keeps away hunger which can cause binge eating.
- Red lentils are a great way to get your B vitamins... vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and thiamine. Cooked red lentils have 358 micrograms of vitamin B9 (90% of the RDA for adults), also known as folate. Folate is essential in the production of red blood cells and DNA which aids in energy metabolism.
- Red lentils are a great source of iron, magnesium and zinc.
Lots of veggies
I'm always trying to squeeze extra veggies into my recipes and this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup recipe is no exception. So in addition to the onion and crushed tomatoes in the original recipe, I added lots of diced carrot, roasted red pepper and potato. The carrots, peppers and potatoes boost the nutritional benefits of this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup and they also give pretty color contrast to the finished soup.
The additional veggies also make the soup quite hearty, perfect for a meal in one bowl!
The easy way to chop veggies!
If you've been following The Café for any amount of time, I'm pretty sure you know that I'm a big fan of the Vidalia veggie chopper. I'm pretty basic when it comes to kitchen tools but this little gadget is worth its weight in gold. It quickly chops onions, peppers, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, celery, apples, pears, jicama... even winter squash.
I use it to make the prep for this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup a quick and easy breeze.
Because I love this little kitchen workhorse and use it so frequently, I asked my daughter-in-law, Lindsay to put together a video to demonstrate what an easy timesaver this chopper is. Check it out:
Put this delicious soup on your must-make soon list. I promise the carnivores in your family won't miss the meat!
Café Tips for making this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup
- This recipe calls for red lentils. You can find red lentils at most larger grocery stores in the same section where you find dried beans and other lentils. If your grocery store doesn't carry them, Whole Foods definitely does. You can also order them online.
- I like to use coconut oil for this Curried Red Lentil Coconut Soup as it adds an additional layer of delicious flavor but extra virgin olive oil will also work.
- If you haven't used coconut oil before, you may be surprised to discover that it, unlike other oils, it's quite thick and has to be scooped (rather than poured) from the jar. I've used both refined and unrefined coconut oil with good success.
- This recipe calls for finely chopped cilantro. Half of it is added before the soup is simmered, the other half at the end before serving. If you're not a cilantro fan, I recommend adding the initial ¼ cup. After the soup is simmered, I promise you won't recognize it as cilantro but it adds a wonderful, unique layer of flavor. Then sub basil or simply omit the other ¼ cup that's added later
- You can use either low-sodium chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable broth for this Curried Red Lentil Soup recipe. If you only have regular broth, skip the salt and add it at the end, to taste.
- Curry powder can vary greatly from brand to brand. I like to use a mild curry powder as we're not fans of super spicy food. I like Rajah and Rani brands. Both are mild curry powders. If you have your own favorite, go with that!
- This recipe calls for 1 can of coconut milk. Coconut milk comes in light or regular varieties. Either will work for this soup. If you're watching your weight, light coconut milk has significantly fewer calories. The regular variety though will yield a richer-tasting soup.
- We love to garnish this soup with lots of fresh herbs. Cilantro, basil and/or mint are delicious options. We also enjoy diced avocado and a scatter of green onions, thinly sliced diagonally as well as wedges of lime.
Thought for the day:
The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon medium curry powder I use Rajah mild Madras
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth maybe more
- 14.5 ounces crushed tomatoes or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes 1 14.5-ounce can
- 13.5 ounces coconut milk 1 13.5-ounce can
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 medium-size carrots peeled and diced small (6-7 ounces)
- 12 ounces roasted red peppers well-drained and diced small
- 1 large russet or yellow potato peeled and diced small (about 8 ounces)
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- lime wedges Greek yogurt, cilantro, thinly sliced scallions, avocado for serving
Heat oil in a medium-large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the broth, crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, diced carrot, roasted red pepper, potato, ¼ cup of the cilantro (set aside the remaining ¼ cup), salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently (uncovered), stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the remaining ¼ cup cilantro and stir to combine.
If you prefer a thinner soup, you can add a bit more broth at this point.
To serve, divide soup among bowls. Garnish with fresh herbs, diced avocado, thinly sliced scallions and/or with lime wedges.
Soup (without toppings) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Warm gently on the stovetop. If the soup is too thick, you can thin it with a little more broth.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious Food - YOTAM OTTOLENGHI