Cozy Curry Lentil Soup – This easy lentil soup recipe is perfect for cold weather and cozy days in. A delicious healthy lunch or healthy dinner! (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
January always feels like serious soup season. When the weather is chilly and I’m craving something nourishing after enjoying holiday treats, soup is such a natural solution. A favorite lately is this cozy lentil soup recipe.
With plenty of plant-based protein, layer upon layer of flavor, and plenty of veggies, a cozy vegan lentil soup like this will warm you up from the inside out.
This easy lentil soup recipe doesn’t take long to make and only gets better with time. I love making a batch on the weekend to enjoy for lunches throughout the week, but it makes a fabulous dinner (ESPECIALLY on a chilly evening).
Here’s what you need to make this cozy curry lentil soup…
(Don’t miss some of our tasty flavor variations, too!)
HERE’S WHAT GOES IN OUR COZY LENTIL SOUP RECIPE:
ONIONS + CARROTS. A base of diced onions and a few carrots adds a gorgeous savory note and builds a delightful flavor base for our curry lentil soup.
AROMATICS + SPICES. The next layer of flavor comes from aromatics like ginger and garlic, along with some curry powder, salt, and a little cayenne for some warmth. (Pro tip: look for frozen ginger + frozen garlic at the grocery store! It’s already minced, has no added ingredients, and tastes exactly like fresh.)
TOMATO SAUCE + COCONUT MILK + BROTH. To take this from a veggie sauté to a cozy curry lentil soup, I add flavor and creaminess from a combination of tomato sauce, coconut milk, and a little veggie broth. This trio makes our lentil soup recipe thick, creamy, and satisfying in all the best ways.
RED LENTILS. Then, come our lentils! I use red lentils in my curry lentil soup recipe. Their light color and quick cooking time make them a natural fit. I can find them at all my major grocery stores, health food stores (like Sprouts, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Natural Grocer), and online. (See the FAQ if you want to swap in another variety!)
FRESH SPINACH + CILANTRO. Lastly, you’ll PACK this soup with a whole bag (5-6 oz.) of spinach and a little fresh cilantro (if you want). It’ll look like a TON of spinach up front, but after just 1-2 minutes, it wilts down to just the right amount. love the gorgeous green spinach adds to the soup from a color standpoint, and I also love knowing that we’re bringing the rich nutrients from greens into our healthy lentil soup.
MIX IT UP! TASTY WAYS TO CHANGE UP OUR EASY LENTIL SOUP RECIPE.
SWAP YOUR GREENS. Try adding kale in place of the spinach in your lentil soup. Or, you can experiment with chard or mustard greens!
MIX UP THE SPICES. Instead of the 1 Tbsp. curry powder in this lentil soup recipe, you can add 1 tsp. cumin + 1 tsp. coriander + 1 tsp. cardamom to mimic the flavors in our favorite Paleo Butter Chicken. Or you can add 1/2-1 tsp. cumin or garam masala in along with the curry powder!
ADD MORE TEXTURE. If you like your soup more broth-y, you can swap out the 15 oz. can of tomato paste for a 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes instead. (I like fire-roasted crushed tomatoes when I go this route!)
MAKE IT SPICY. Love a little heat? Turn up the spice by adding 1 tsp. cumin + 1/4 tsp. cayenne (or more, to taste)
TRY IT WITH MORE VEGGIES. This cozy lentil soup recipe easily accommodates more veggies. Feel free to add a few diced potatoes or sweet potatoes, a few chopped tomatoes, 2-3 cups of kale, or 1-2 stalks of celery, for instance.
ADD SOME COOKED CHICKEN. If you’re not eating vegan or vegetarian, you can absolutely stir some cooked chicken into this recipe at the end. It can be a great way to use up leftovers!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST LENTIL SOUP:
HOW TO SORT & RINSE LENTILS: Pour lentils into a fine mesh sieve and pick out any damaged, or discolored lentils and discard them. Then, rinse the lentils in your sieve under water for about 1 minute before adding to your recipe.
DO I NEED TO SOAK THE LENTILS BEFORE COOKING? Lentils do not need to be soaked before cooking, though soaking them can speed up the cook time. Soaked lentils cook in about half the time of un-soaked lentils.
CAN I USE GREEN OR BROWN LENTILS INSTEAD OF RED LENTILS? I haven’t tried it this way, but I believe you can. Do know that the cook time will vary, since red lentils cook in about half the time of green & brown lentils. See this post for a more thorough overview!
CAN YOU FREEZE LENTIL SOUP? Yes! Lentil soup freezes very well. I freeze mine in freezer-safe zip top bags with the excess air pressed out of them. Then, I freeze them laying flat until they’re frozen solid. It makes them easier and neater to store, and they thaw faster later! You can reheat leftovers on the stove with a splash of water or broth to loosen them back up.
HELP! MY LENTIL SOUP IS TOO THICK. Lentil soup continues to thicken as it cools (the lentils will absorb liquid as they sit), so you may want to add a splash of water or broth to loosen things back up to your taste. (Or, you can just spoon it over rice or quinoa like stew!)
CRAVING MORE? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE:
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker) Chipotle Black Bean Chili
- Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Carrot Ginger Soup (with stovetop directions!)
- Butternut Squash Curry
SHOP OUR PICKS! HELPFUL TOOLS + INGREDIENTS FOR LENTIL SOUP:
Cozy Curry Lentil Soup – This easy lentil soup recipe is perfect for cold weather and cozy days in. (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt (plus more, to taste)
- a pinch of cayenne pepper (1/16-1/8 tsp.)
- 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 (13 oz.) can coconut milk
- 5 cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)
- 1 lbs. (about 2 cups) red lentils, sorted and rinsed*
- 5 oz. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4–1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (plus, additional for garnish, if desired)
- Lime wedges (optional)
- 1–2 Tbsp. additional coconut milk or plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy as needed) for garnish.
- In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onions and carrots and cook 5-7 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
- Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt, and cayenne. Stir and cook 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add tomato sauce, coconut milk, and veggie broth to the pot and stir to combine.
- If you haven’t already, sort and rinse your lentils,* then add them to your soup pot.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the soup (stirring occasionally) about 20-25 minutes, stirring or until lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach and cilantro. The residual heat from the soup will wild the leaves within 1-2 minutes.
- Taste and add additional salt, as desired.
- Serve with lime wedges, a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of coconut milk, and additional cilantro as desired.
*HOW TO SORT & RINSE LENTILS: Pour lentils into a fine mesh sieve and pick out any damaged, or discolored lentils and discard them. Then, rinse the lentils under water for about 1 minute before adding to your recipe.
**SOUP TOO THICK? Lentil soup continues to thicken as it cools and sits. Feel free to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out to your liking!
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: lentil soup, best lentil soup, lentil soup recipe, vegan lentil soup, curry lentil soup,