This creamy curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup has quickly become a weeknight staple in our house. A cozy and comforting one pot meal, it comes together in about 30 minutes, with minimal chopping and basic pantry ingredients. Vegan, gluten free option.

curried lentil tomato coconut soup in bowls with spoon

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Every once in a while, I throw a recipe together at random, taste it, and then immediately try to remember all the ingredients because it was so dang good. That’s how my easy vegan chili came to be, and my mushroom barley soup!

This curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup is one of those plant-based recipes essentially born of my laziness easy going approach to cooking. One night, not wanting to go to the grocery store, I challenged myself to cook with whatever I could scrounge up in the pantry and loved it so much, well….here it is. 

We’ve been making this red lentil coconut soup every week since. Seriously: this dietitian loves a lentil moment. (If you’ve ever had the lentil walnut tacos from Eat More Plants Cookbook you get it) Plus, this is one of those vegan soups that everyone will love because it’s creamy, satisfying and you can change up the vegetables depending on what you have on hand. 

Grab your ingredients to make this yummy red lentil coconut soup!

Inspired by coconut red lentil dal, this curried red lentil soup is an easy one pot weeknight meal that just so happens to be vegan, gluten free and nut free too. It has just 6 core ingredients, plus spices and oil. Feel free to play around and make it your own!

curried lentil tomato coconut soup ingredients in bowls
Raid your pantry for some basics – red lentils, coconut milk, canned tomatoes and bouillon concentrate. Add whatever veggies you have on hand plus some curry powder, cumin, coriander and garam masala!
  • Full fat coconut milk: I love the Aroy-D brand, because it’s the creamiest in my opinion. You can also substitute light coconut milk but it will be lighter in texture. Note: I buy my coconut milk in 500 mL (2 cup) containers. If you have a 398 mL (14 oz) can on hand, just use that and add an extra ½ cup (125 mL) of water so you don’t have to open a second can.
  • Red lentils: red lentils are different than brown or green lentils – and not just in colour! They are a split lentil, so they cook up very quickly, thickening the texture of whatever they’re in.
  • Canned tomatoes: I always use no salt added tomatoes so I can control the salt in my cooking. I like diced tomatoes here for some extra texture but you could absolutely use crushed tomatoes too. 
  • Vegetables: use up whatever vegetables you have on hand, whether that’s onion, carrot, broccoli…almost all cooking vegetables will be great here!
  • Bouillon concentrate: I love Better Than Bouillon vegetarian concentrates so much. Oh how I wish they would sponsor me ha! It’s low waste and much more flavourful than stock. Need it gluten free? Substitute 1 cube gluten free bouillon for every 1 tsp of BTB. Using broth? Omit BTB and just swap in broth for water.
  • Spices: I use a mixture of curry powder, garam masala, coriander and cumin here for a blend of earthiness, spice and fragrance. Don’t have garam masala? Add a tiny pinch of cinnamon and clove as a substitute.
  • Lime: A little squeeze of lime REALLY changes the flavour…everything gets bright and punchy. I really recommend you don’t skip it but in a pinch, sub a bit of lemon or leave it out.

FAQ: Do you have to soak red lentils? Not at all! Red lentils cook down SO quickly, you can throw them right in. I do recommend sorting through them as most dry lentils can have stones or debris.

How to make this curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup

I love a lazy soup! Pantry ingredients. Not a lot of chopping. Punches way above its weight class in terms of flavour. Here’s how to make the magic happen…

Saute the vegetables: start by cooking any diced vegetables (or frozen vegetables!) you have on hand, in a drizzle of oil until they’re tendercrisp. (Real talk: even without extra veg, this soup will still be super nourishing and delicious!) 

Warm the spices: dump the spices over the veggies, and stir constantly for about 30 seconds to help boost their flavour.

Add the soup base: next, you’ll add water, coconut milk, bouillon concentrate and bring it all to a boil.

Cook the lentils: once boiling, add the red lentils and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

Finish with a good squeeze of lime, and extra salt if desired and enjoy! I find this soup hearty enough to serve all on its own, but you can always serve with some sprouted grain bread, crackers or flatbread like naan.

Why red lentils are so dang good for you

Lentils are just such an essential food for me because of their versatility, rich flavour, texture and of course, nutritional benefits.

  • Red lentils are packed with plant-based protein: just ¼ cup of dry red lentils contains 12 grams of protein
  • Red lentils also boast 5.5 grams of fiber per ¼ cup dry…making them a high fiber food and great gut health booster.
  • Red lentils are mineral rich, offering plenty of vegan iron (3.75 mg), zinc for skin and immune health (1.8mg) and plant sterols to support healthy blood cholesterol levels.

I know the term superfood is kind of tired, but holy heck lentils are pretty dang super. And as always…nutritional information from the Canadian Nutrient File.

Tips, Tricks and Suggestions

  • This red lentil coconut soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, making it an awesome meal prep soup. You can freeze it for up to 3 months too. Just thaw in the fridge overnight before heating.
  • This soup continues to thicken in the fridge. Simply add ½ cup of water to reheat, adding more as necessary to desired consistency.
  • This recipe was designed for red lentils, which cook quickly and break down to thicken the soup. If all you have on hand is brown or green lentils, it will work but A) you’ll need to cook it a bit longer, adding water as you go and B) it will have a different texture.
  • Using frozen vegetables? Reduce the cooking time: I would just add frozen veggies at the same time as the spices and just stir for 30 seconds before adding the liquids.
  • Don’t have coconut milk on hand? You could absolutely swap additional water…and to add a creamy note, maybe drizzle with some cashew cream.
curried lentil tomato coconut soup in bowl with spoon and limes
I cannot get enough of this protein-rich, comforting vegan soup! We eat it weekly.

More delicious vegan curries, soups and stews

curried lentil tomato coconut soup in bowls with spoon

Creamy curried red lentil, tomato and coconut soup

This creamy curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup is a cozy and comforting one pot meal. Comes together in about 30 minutes, with minimal chopping and basic pantry ingredients.
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 cups diced vegetables, whatever you have on hand, I used carrots and green beans here
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk , or 14 oz (398 mL) can coconut milk plus ½ cup water
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian bouillon concentrate, I use Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian "Chicken"
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ¼ lime

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add vegetables, stirring occasionally until bright and tender crisp, about 3-7 minutes.
  • Add curry powder, cumin, coriander, garam masala and salt, and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
  • Add water, coconut milk, canned tomatoes and bouillon concentrate. Stir and bring to a boil on high heat.
  • Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat back to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom, until lentils are soft and soup is thickened, about 20 minutes. Adjust water as needed to desired consistency.
  • Remove from heat, give a generous squeeze of lime and adjust salt as desired.

Notes

Note: I buy my coconut milk in 500 mL (2 cup) containers. If you have a 398 mL (14 oz) can on hand, which is typical, just use that and add an extra ½ cup (125 mL) of water so you don’t have to open a second can! Close enough 🙂