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:

  1. Chew your food really thoroughly so that you’re basically doing half the digestive work before the lentils even hit your gut.
  2. 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.

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

Serves 6 (cause you'll want leftovers)

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

By Camille Styles


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add curry powder and stir together, then add remaining ingredients (except garnishes.)
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are soft.
  4. Ladle into bowls, and top with yogurt, cilantro, and coconut. Eat!

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Comments (5)
  1. 1
    Ashley February 4, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Made this tonight with ingredients I had on hand and it was super yummy! Thank you.

    Reply
  2. 2
    KG September 30, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Where is your sweater from? It’s gorgeous!

    Reply
  3. 3
    Erica Black December 15, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    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 ?.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Megan January 3, 2022 at 9:19 am

    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

    Reply
  5. 5
    Carmen Dahlberg February 18, 2022 at 11:22 am

    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).

    Reply