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blue bowl filled with red lentil soup drizzled with coconut milk and sprinkled with chopped cilantro

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 dinner sized servings 1x


This is a fabulous soup - fast and easy to prepare, hearty enough to serve for dinner, vegan, nutritious and absolutely delicious, with just the perfect balance of heat, spice and tang that the whole family will love.


Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or mild flavored vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped (160g, 3 cups chopped onion)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (I recommend Madras Curry Powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (chili flakes)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press or finely minced
  • 3-inch piece of of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped ginger/60g)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained. (300g/11 oz)
  • 28-ounce can of tomato puree or canned whole plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender (see notes)
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro (coriander), leaves and stems separated and finely chopped. You will need 1/2 cup of chopped stems for cooking. Set aside the chopped leaves to use for garnishing.
  • 2 13 1/2-ounce cans of unsweetened coconut milk, poured into a large mixing bowl and whisked until smooth
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 limes cut into wedges


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add the curry powder, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add lentils and stir them through. Add tomatoes, chopped cilantro stems, ½ teaspoon salt, several grinds of black pepper, and 5 cups of water.
  3. Set aside ½ cup of the coconut milk to use for garnishing and add the rest to the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.


A note about canned tomatoes: Whenever a recipe calls for chopped or pureed canned tomatoes, you get the best results if you buy a can of good quality canned whole plum tomatoes (such as San Marzano D.O.P.) and chop or puree them yourself. It's quick and easy to puree canned tomatoes is in a blender or Nutribullet.

Storage: This soup can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently before serving, and add the toppings.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 35 min
  • Category: soup
  • Method: simmer
  • Cuisine: N/A

Keywords: curried red lentil tomato and coconut soup