If you love healthy, veggie-laden soups that are bursting with fabulous flavor but also easy to make, this delicious Red Lentil Carrot Soup is for you!
It's such a win-win-win for me, when a recipe is super easy to throw together, is loaded with healthy veggies and at the same time is super delicious with lots of bright, vibrant flavor! This Red Lentil Carrot Soup is all of the above and the beautiful golden hue can't help but make you smile!
Superstar ingredient line-up
The ingredient combination for this Red Lentil Carrot Soup creates a fantastically flavored soup but many of them are super starts on their own when it comes to nutrition. Check them out!
- Onions - in addition to creating a wonderful flavor base, onions are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium, all of which provide different health benefits (sourced from healthline.com.)
- Carrots - root vegetables that are often claimed to be the "perfect health food". Carrots are low in calories and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health. Orange carrots get their beautiful hue from beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
- Bell pepper - are also low in calories and very rich in vitamin C as well as other antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
- Garlic - Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. Garlic is also known to help boost the function of the immune system.
- Fresh Ginger - according to Healthline, ginger "is among the healthiest spices on the planet". Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can help with nausea, osteoarthritis, diabetes, chronic indigestion and can help fight infections.
- Turmeric - is in a superstar class all of its own. You can read about the amazing health benefits in this article.
- Chicken Broth - everyone knows that chicken broth is just plain old "good for the soul". It's also rich in essential fatty acids and protein which help our bodies build and repair healthy tissue.
- Red lentils -lentils are an inexpensive way of getting a wide range of nutrients like protein, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium.
- Coconut milk - although coconut milk is high in calories, there are "light" versions available, which are more reasonable from a caloric standpoint. Also, the ratio of coconut milk to other ingredients in this recipe is small so it doesn't add a lot to the calorie count. According to healthline.com, studies have found that coconut milk can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol by 18%.
Doesn't taste like "diet food"
I promise you that, even though this soup is "souper" healthy and low in calories, its velvety smooth texture and vibrant flavor will keep you from feeling deprived. The nutritious part definitely doesn’t cancel out the deliciousness, instead, they happily co-exist in beautiful harmony!
How to garnish this Red Lentil Carrot Soup
This soup is a stunner in a bowl on its own. The color is bright and beautiful and makes a statement all by itself. But it's also fun to add a garnish or two to dress it up a bit. I like to drizzle the soup with a small amount (about a half teaspoon) of heavy cream or Greek yogurt that's been thinned with a bit of milk. I stir it with a toothpick till it's swirly and pretty.
A little sprinkle of smoked (or regular) paprika makes a lovely finishing touch.
A sprinkle of Feta, some chopped cilantro or a handful of crisp, buttery croutons are other delicious options.
Put the ingredients for this Red Lentil Carrot Soup on your grocery list and make a pot asap. There's minimal hands-on time involved so it's perfect for those busy weeknights when you need something healthy and hearty. Add a simple green salad and loaf of warm crusty bread or some delicious dinner rolls and you'll be sure to have lots of happy campers around the table.
Cafe Tips for this Red Lentil Carrot Soup
- This recipe calls for red lentils. Red lentils are available at most larger grocery stores in the same area as the dried beans. They're also available online.
- Don't worry about any fancy chopping for this soup. Everything will be pureed at the end so you can just give the onion, bell pepper and carrots a rough chop.
- For a nice smooth texture, make sure to let the soup cook until the carrots are super tender and almost falling apart. On my stove that takes about 35 minutes.
- This recipe calls for low-sodium chicken broth. Be sure to use a low-sodium broth or decrease the amount of salt in the recipe. I really like Swanson Chicken Broth and Trader Joe's Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. Both have nice clean flavor and I love the pretty golden color of the Trader Joe's broth.
- This recipe calls for finely grated fresh ginger. I love this Ginger Paste. It smells and tastes just like fresh ginger. It comes in a squeeze tube that you can store in the refrigerator or freezer (if you don't use it that often). I always have a tube of this on hand, as I don't always have fresh ginger. You'll find this ginger paste in the produce section of many larger grocery stores. My local Targets and Walmarts both carry it. (This is not a sponsored post. I just really like the convenience and flavor of this stuff.)
- To save time, I often use baby carrots for this recipe since they don't have to be peeled and they're small enough that I can add them right to the soup without chopping.
- Smoked paprika is not the same as regular paprika so don't skip it! Smoked paprika is made from chilies that are smoke-dried and crushed. The chilies are usually smoked with oak which imparts a wonderful outdoorsy flavor. Smoked paprika gives a wonderful depth of flavor and complexity to the Red Lentil Carrot Soup.
- There's a tablespoon of sugar in this soup. It doesn't make the soup sweet, but it does round out all the flavors nicely.
- The final step of this recipe is to puree the simmered broth. You can use a regular blender but I LOVE the convenience of using an immersion blender. You can blend right in the pot and there is no blender container to wash. If you enjoy creamy soups and sauces, an immersion blender will become your best friend! I love this reasonable priced immersion blender. It comes with whisk and milk frother attachments.
- This recipe makes a large pot of soup but it freezes well. It also makes a great meal with a loaf of bread to take to a friend in need.
Thought for the day:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed 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 extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 1 large orange bell pepper roughly chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
- 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- pinch cayenne pepper less than ⅛ teaspoon
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ cup red lentils
- 1½ pounds carrots peeled and roughly chopped
- 13.5 ounces canned coconut milk (1 can) I've used both full fat and light with good results
Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened and wilted. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and cook for another 30-45 seconds until nice and fragrant.
Add the chicken broth, sugar, salt, red lentils and carrots. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 30-35 minutes until the carrots are super tender. Add the coconut milk and stir well.
Transfer the soup mixture to a blender and blend in two batches until smooth and creamy. Return to the pot after blending. You can also use an immersion blend right in the pot. Blend until nice and creamy.
Garnish, if desired, with a drizzle of heavy cream or thinned Greek yogurt and swirl with a toothpick or skewer. Sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika. Serve and enjoy!
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.