Hearty and healthy, this spicy red lentil soup recipe will soothe you with aromatic warming spices. It's a nutritious comforting soup everyone will enjoy! Time to tuck into a delicious steaming bowl of soup.
Why you'll love this easy lentil soup recipe
- Healthy - this is the best lentil soup recipe! It is naturally gluten-free, vegan, and filled with feel-good ingredients and a cozy mix of spices. Lentils are a rich source of vegetable protein and fiber, making them filling and satisfying. Also high in folate, potassium and iron, supporting you heart, keeping your blood pressure in check and warding off fatigue.
- Affordable pantry ingredients - this easy lentil soup will quickly become your all-time favorite spicy lentil soup recipe for weeknight dinners. Simple to make, versatile, creamy and satisfying. Pantry staples like onions, celery, carrots and garlic make up the base of the soup. Just add red lentils, warming spices and vegetable stock for the perfect combination of hearty soup with a thick and creamy texture.
Enjoy this hearty soup with a hearty texture coupled with a side of Crunchy Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, Maple Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower or Balsamic Baked Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (vegan). Or tuck into some Soft Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies With Chocolate Chips for dessert!
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Extra virgin olive oil - is used to sauté the vegetables.Substitute with a pantry staple like coconut oil.
- Onion, celery and carrots - are a mirepoix of vegetables that form the base flavor of the soup.
- Garlic - adds some depth to the creamy soup.
- Curry powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper - are aromatic warming spices that combined, gives the dish depth and a little heat. If spicy isn't your thing, leave out the cayenne pepper and pinch of red pepper flakes. If not enough spice, experiment with a tablespoon of dry spices like chili powder or smoked paprika.
- Vegetable broth - or vegetable stock is filled with nutrients and adds a richness of flavor. Use chicken broth if you're not looking for a vegan lentil soup. Mushroom broth is also a good option for deep earthiness in the vegetarian soup. Use water in a pinch but you may miss out on some flavors a good stock can bring.
- Canned diced tomatoes - adds a lovely texture and can be swapped with fire-roasted tomatoes. No tomatoes? Substitute for a little bit of tomato paste to maintain the flavor profile.
- Coconut milk - adds creaminess with no cream. Using full-fat will give more richness to the soup. Or, leave out the coconut milk, though you may miss out on a bit of the creaminess.
- Red lentils - melt into a delicious creamy bliss when used in a thick and hearty dish. Brown lentils or green lentils are most similar to red but will take slightly longer to cook (about 10 minutes more). Their coloring is not as vibrant as the red lentils which turn a beautiful orange hue. The red lentils also have a slightly fragrant flavor to them.
- Fresh ginger - gives the soup a warm bite of tangy freshness.
- Baby spinach - provides a rich source of fiber, protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals. A good swap would be slivered kale or Swiss chard.
- Lemon juice - gives the finished soup a bright, fresh pop of flavor. The only substitution is a shot of lime juice to get the bright acid from citrus.
See recipe card for all ingredients and quantities.
Equipment - large saucepan or large pot
- Heat oil over medium-low heat. Sauté onions, celery, carrots and garlic, until soft and translucent. Adjust heat if needed. About 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low, add curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring as mixture becomes fragrant. About 1 minute.
- Add broth, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, ginger and sea salt. Raise heat to high and bring to a slight boil then reduce heat to medium simmer, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add spinach and squeeze of lemon juice. Stir gently to allow spinach to wilt.
- Serve with a few sprigs of parsley, a lemon wedge, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes. Or top with a dollop of plain yogurt.
Expert tips and variations
- Keep it versatile - this curry lentil soup is so easy to make with pantry ingredients. It's naturally gluten-free and vegan and super versatile. Switching up lentils, broth or hearty greens will still leave you with a nutritious, well-balanced meal you can enjoy any day of the week. Add some cubed sweet potatoes when adding lentils for a more thick soup. You may need a little more broth to thin.
- Brown rice bowl – pour over a spoonful of cooked brown rice for a more filling meal.
- More creamy – use an immersion blender, food processor, high speed blender or regular blender, whatever’s in your own kitchen. Blend half the soup and add back to the pot for a creamier consistency.
- Leftovers – tastes even better the next day! Perfect for leftovers or easy meal prep.
- Storage - spicy red lentil soup recipe holds up really well to storing. Store soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months.
Red lentil soup with coconut milk tastes even better the next day! Perfect for leftovers or easy meal prep. Store in single serving containers for a quick grab (heat)-and-go health lunch or weeknight dinner.
Lentils should be rinsed before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. Pick out any small stones that may have made their way into the batch before cooking. There is no need to soak lentils before cooking.
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Spicy Red Lentil Soup
- 1 large pot
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced (about 2 cups / 320 grams)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup / 100 grams)
- 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 ¼ cup / 160 grams)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (1 litre)
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices (398 ml)
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk, full-fat (400 ml)
- 1 ¼ cups uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained (225 grams)
- 1- inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 package of baby spinach (5-ounces), roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- chopped fresh parsley or fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic, and sauté until soft and translucent. Adjust the heat if needed to keep vegetables from browning. About 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, and add the curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring as the mixture becomes fragrant. About 1 minute.
- Add the broth, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, ginger and sea salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a slight boil then immediately reduce heat to medium.
- Simmer, uncovered on medium until lentils are tender. About 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add the spinach and lemon juice. Stir gently to allow the spinach to wilt.
- Serve with a few sprigs of parsley and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Store - in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Brown rice bowl- pour over a spoonful of cooked brown rice for a more filling meal.
- Rinse lentils - before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. Pick out small stones that may have made their way into the batch before cooking. No need to soak lentils before cooking.
I made this for my housemates and we all loved it! I haven’t been able to test whether or not it actually makes good leftovers since we just ate it all right away.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Maybe a double batch next time!
This soup is delicious. I had never used red lentils before, but I'm glad I tried it because it was wonderful. Just the right amount of spices. Thank you!
I'm so happy you enjoyed the lentil soup!