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Curry Lentil Soup: Easy and Delicious!

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Curry Lentil Soup is naturally vegan, packed with curry flavors, turmeric, and ginger, and is utterly delicious. Simple to make in 30 minutes or less, it’s a must-cook for soup season!

Bowl of Curry Lentil Soup with Fresh Parsley

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If there was ever a soup I crave in the chilly months of fall and winter, it would be Curry Lentil Soup. A perfect blend of my favorite spices.

And the beautiful thing about this soup is how easy and quickly it can be made.

While some soups cook (deservedly so) for hours, this lentil soup is done in about 30 minutes.

Perfect for light dinners and lunches throughout the week.

Top view of Curry Lentil Soup with fresh parsley and coconut milk

Lentil Soup Origins

Because of the curry spices added to this soup, it seems to fit perfectly within Indian cuisine.

The best-known history of lentil soup, however, comes from the biblical text of Jacob and Esau, and the selling of a birthright over, yes, lentil soup.

But many don’t realize that lentils first originated in the Middle East and are believed to be the first legume ever cultivated.

The French, also, like to lay claim to lentils.

Best Lentils for Soup

You can use most types of lentils for this soup recipe; brown, green, red, or yellow, though each variety will affect the texture, color, and cooking time.

Lentil Varieties

Brown Lentils: These are the most common lentils, hold their shape in soup and have a mild, earthy type flavor. They cook in 20 to 30 minutes. I’ve used brown lentils in this recipe.

Green Lentils: Also hold their shape and have a robust flavor. They can take 45 minutes or longer to cook but still retain a firm texture. They are great in salads and side dishes.

Red Lentils: Red lentils can range in color from gold to red and have a sweet, nutty flavor. They cook in about 30 minutes but do not hold their shape. They are an excellent choice for thickening soup or for Indian dals.

Yellow Lentils: Similar to red lentils, yellow lentils have a mild to neutral flavor and are also used for Indian dals. They also cook in about 30 minutes.

Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients on a Wood Cutting Board

Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients

Specific ingredient measurements are found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here is a summary of what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Garlic cloves
  • Curry Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lentils
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Canned unsweetened coconut milk
Curry Lentil Soup in a red Dutch oven

How to Make Curry Lentil Soup

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.

Step 1: Saute the Vegetables

Add the chopped onion and carrots; saute until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Stir in garlic, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, and red pepper flakes; cook 2 minutes more or until fragrant. Then stir in the lentils and cook for 1 minute more.

Step 2: Assemble the Soup

Add undrained tomatoes, 2 ½ cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Then stir in the coconut milk (reserve a couple of tablespoons for drizzling).

Step 3: Cook the Lentil Soup

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to maintain a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.

Serving the Curry Lentil Soup

Divide soup between bowls, drizzle reserved coconut milk, and top with freshly chopped parsley if desired.

Kitchen Equipment Needed to Make Soup

One of the things I love about soup is that it’s incredibly easy to make, requires very little kitchen equipment, and simmers on the stovetop with little effort.

Here’s what you need to make Curry Lentil Soup:

  • Dutch Oven: I love a cast iron enameled Dutch oven as it retains heat and cooks soup beautifully. A medium size works great, but even a large (6 quart) is fine too.
  • Chef’s Knife: There’s very little chopping needed in this recipe, but a good quality chef’s knife is always a plus in the kitchen.
  • Cutting Board: Again, a great cutting board is like a gift to yourself in the kitchen.

What to Serve with Curry Lentil Soup

Packed with flavor, this soup is delicious with a wide combination of sides. Here are some ideas:

How Long Does Curry Lentil Last in the Refrigerator?

Curry Lentil Soup, if properly stored in an air-tight container, should last 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

For longer storage, store in a freezer-safe container, for 4 to 5 months.

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Side view of Curry Lentil Soup in a White Soup Bowl
Bowl of Curry Lentil Soup with Fresh Parsley

Curry Lentil Soup

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Curry Lentil Soup is naturally vegan, packed with curry flavors, turmeric, and ginger, and is utterly delicious. Simple to make in 30 minutes or less, it's a must cook for soup season!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1-inch fresh ginger, finely chopped)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrots; saute until golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, and red pepper flakes; cook 2 minutes more or until fragrant. Then stir in the lentils and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Add undrained tomatoes, 2 ½ cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Then stir in the coconut milk (reserve a couple of tablespoons for drizzling).
  4. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to maintain a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Divide soup between bowls, drizzle reserved coconut milk, and top with freshly chopped parsley if desired.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 157Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g

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9 Comments

  1. I have just taken these off the hob and they are looking and smelling delicious.
    I used brown lentils, just a scant tsp curry powder, other spices as stated plus a scant tsp each coriander and sweet paprika. Also only added 3/4 can water and finished off for about 10 mins with lid off. They are a great consistency and looking forward to having a bowl later😉

    1. Hi Sandra! I love your addition of coriander and paprika. It sounds so good — I wish I had a bowl today too! I’m so glad you tried it and thanks so much for letting me know.

  2. all i had was green lentils, which took longer – maybe 35-40 minutes instead of 20. until they stated to break down, i was concerned because soup’s consistency seemed very thin and watery, with the curry flavor overwhelming, almost harsh.
    in the end, tho,. it thickened up and flavor mellowed a bit – but i still may use a bit less curry next time. 2 tablespoons is a lot of curry!

    1. Hi Anne! That is a great call-out on using green lentils. I’m going to add a section in the recipe about different kinds of lentils and their cooking times. Thank you so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out!

      1. i think that it is a good idea for you to add a section on lentils.
        i have found that red lentils and black lentils are also distinctly different from using brown lentils, which i have to say i usually prefer – but these days you never know what you’ll find available at the store so you take what you can get!
        i’m looking forward to trying your skillet bread recipe sometime soon.

    1. Hi Gillian — it is a really easy recipe. I’m using brown lentils because I like that they hold their shape, but any kind of lentils work just fine. Red lentils cook a bit faster so watch for that if you’re using those.

      1. This recipe for a curry lover like myself is easy to make and delicious to taste. I’ve made this recipe on several occasions and it’s a curry lovers delight. Thank you

        1. Yay! I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for trying the recipe and letting me know how it worked for you.

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