I went through a major lentil obsession when I first discovered them after college. In search of easy lunch ideas, I came across pre-steamed lentils at the grocery store and quickly became addicted. At one point I was having them every single day for lunch, and always topped with some marinara sauce and cheese. While delicious, I eventually tired of having the same lunch each day. By now I’ve realized that there are so many different ways to enjoy lentils, such as in soups and in Indian dishes. This curried coconut lentil soup is one of my favorite soups right now – it’s so flavorful, healthy and filling and will warm you up wonderfully on a chilly day.
I recently heard that over 1/3 of India’s population classify themselves as vegetarians. This doesn’t surprise me at all, as I’ve long been impressed with the depth and variety of Indian vegetarian dishes available. Lentils are quite popular in India and are a great source of nutrition for vegetarians, as they are packed with protein, fiber and iron. I think that red lentils, which I used in this soup, pair especially well with curry spices and creamy coconut milk. The end result has just the right amount of flavor and creaminess without being overly spicy or rich.
I love serving this with some toasted almonds and cilantro on top. It’s great as leftovers, too – I make a large batch and bring it to work throughout the week.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 and ½ cups uncooked red split lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 14 oz. can of coconut milk (I used light coconut milk)
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Toasted almonds and cilantro to garnish
- In a large pot or dutch oven, add oil, onion and garlic and sautee over medium heat until onion is softened.
- Add lentils and stir for about one minute.
- Add remaining ingredients and increase heat to high; when the soup begins to boil, return the heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are softened but still maintaining their shape. Add additional cayenne and salt to taste.
- Garnish with almonds and cilantro and serve immediately.
Note: Each curry powder will be slightly different in terms of its underlying mix of spices. The curry powder I use already has some turmeric and cayenne in it, which is why I only used an additional 1/2 teaspoon of each of those individual spices. Be sure to check the label of your curry to see what spices are already included in it and adjust the remaining spice levels accordingly.