Lately I have been on a curry kick and needless to say this coconut curry lentil soup has been on repeat. It is seriously so cozy. Warming spices like turmeric and curry just seem to warm me from the inside out. Sweet coconut milk and herby cilantro round out the flavors in this soup. Plus lentils make for an easy, tasty meal packed with filling plant based protein. Be sure to serve with naan that you can pull apart, dip and soak up every bit of curry goodness.
Ingredients for curry lentil soup
Coconut oil- I use this oil for it’s sweetness and how well in compliments the flavors in this soup. Feel free to substitute olive or avocado if that is what you have on hand.
Onion- I prefer the flavor of a sweet onion in the base of this curry lentil recipe.
Garlic- Freshly minced is best, but to save time you can use store bought, ready-to-use minced garlic.
Turmeric- This recipe calls for turmeric powder, found in the spice section of most grocery stores. You can, however, use fresh turmeric root. Substitute about ½” of turmeric root for one teaspoon of turmeric powder.
Curry powder- Adds a warmth and depth of flavor to this curry lentil soup.
Petite diced tomatoes- I like the petite diced, but use regular diced tomatoes for a chunkier soup.
Red lentils- I would not substitute green or brown lentils. Red works best in this recipe.
Full-fat coconut milk- Light coconut milk works as well if you want to lighten up your soup.
Kale- Spinach is a good substitute in this recipe.
Cilantro- Adding fresh cilantro at the end of cooking is a must for a punch of bright, herby flavor.
How to make this curry lentil soup recipe
Begin by heating coconut oil in a large heavy stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Then add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute.
Add the turmeric, curry powder and salt and stir until fragrant.
Next add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Once boiling add the lentils, lower heat to a low boil and cook until the lentils are al dente, about 15 minutes.
Next add in the coconut milk and kale. Cook until the kale is just wilted.
Finish by stirring in the fresh cilantro.
Red lentils work best, but yellow lentils could be used as a substitute as they break down similarly to red lentils to offer the creamiest texture.
Add more vegetables at the end like roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas or cauliflower.
Sauté diced carrots and red pepper along with the onions at the start of the recipe.
Toppings and serving suggestions
This curry lentil soup tastes delicious as is with extra chopped cilantro. Other topping ideas include green onions, plain Greek yogurt or a squeeze of lime juice.
I like to keep it simple and serve with either basmati rice or naan bread to scoop up the curry. You could also serve with brown rice, quinoa, farro or cauliflower rice.
Storing curry red lentil soup
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you choose to batch cook this recipe, store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I make this recipe in the instant pot?
YES! This can easily convert to an instant pot curry recipe. To make the instant pot version, set the pot to the sauté function and follow the instructions through adding the spices and salt.
Once the broth, tomatoes and lentils are added, fasten the lid and set the vent to sealing. Set the pot to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes.
After the pressure releases, I like to let it naturally release for 10 minutes, stir in the coconut milk, kale and cilantro.
Easy Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 small sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 5 cups. vegetable broth
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes drained
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups kale chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- Heat the coconut oil in a stock pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
- Add the turmeric, curry and salt and stir for another minute until combined and fragrant.
- Add in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Add in the lentils. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk and kale and cook until the kale is just wilted.
- Stir in the fresh cilantro.