Red Lentil Soup Recipe

This Red Lentil Soup Recipe is a perfect example of healthy cooking with what you have on hand in the pantry. It’s a flavourful, nutritious, and filling meal and it’s super easy to make.

Red Lentil Soup in a Black Cast Iron Pot

Keeping Lentils In The Pantry

Lentils are a perfect pantry item. These little pulses are super nutritious, easy to cook, and they keep for a long time. They are also very versatile. Besides this lentil soup recipe, You can use lentils in a salad, like this Mediterranean Lentil Salad. They are also a wonderful ingredient for meatless burgers like this one that we often make: Bean & Lentil Veggie Burgers. Or you can use lentils in a stew, like this delicious Moroccan Chicken & Lentils, or a curry: Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Curry.

About Lentils

Lentils are a pulse, which is the edible seed of a legume. Other examples of pulses are chickpeas and beans. The difference, though, is that lentils are always dried, and never eaten fresh.

There are a few different varieties of lentils, including green, brown, yellow, red, and black lentils. The size of the lentil varies amongst the different varieties, as does the cooking time.

Black pot of red lentil soup

What’s the Difference Between Lentil Varieties?

The lentil varieties that you commonly find in the store are brown lentils, green lentils and split red lentils. Brown lentils take 20-30 minutes to cook, and green lentils for about 45 minutes. Both the brown and green varieties hold their shape well after cooking, so they are ideal for salads, soups where you want texture, and stews.

Red lentils, on the other hand, are split, and the seed coat is removed, so they are very quick to cook (10-15 minutes). They turn mushy when they are cooked, which makes them perfect for pureed soups like this red lentil soup recipe. And, by the way, red lentils are actually orange, not red. 

If you manage to find black lentils, they are a treat. Also called beluga lentils because they resemble caviar, black lentils are tiny and hold their shape very well after cooking. They’re perfect for salads and side dishes.

two bowls of red lentil soup

What are French Lentils?

You may have come across recipes with French lentils as an ingredient. French lentils are a variety of green lentil. They hold their shape after cooking even better than brown and regular green lentils. However, if you can’t find French lentils, it’s always fine to use regular green lentils in their place.

Lentil Nutrition Benefits

Lentils are a superfood. They’re are low in fat and calories, but high in fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates. They are also a rich source of potassium, folate, manganese, and iron. In addition, lentils are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index. Learn more about why we should eat lentils here: What are the benefits of lentils?

How to Store Lentils

Store lentils in air-tight containers in a dark, cool & temperature-stable place. Like your pantry, or kitchen cupboard, for example. If properly stored, your lentils will keep for up to a year.

After a year, the lentils will become tougher, less flavourful, and take longer to cook.

About This Red Lentil Soup

The main ingredients for this recipe are items that will keep in your pantry or cupboard for a long time. Lentils, of course, plus cartons of vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, and coconut milk. This is an Indian spiced soup, so I also used a jarred Korma paste. 

The soup will be delicious with just those main ingredients. However, you can also add cauliflower, potatoes, or sweet potatoes if you have them. My addition to this recipe is cauliflower and it is a delicious addition of both taste and texture for this soup.

A dollop of coconut cream and a drizzle of hot sauce are perfect complementary garnishes.

Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

This simple Red Lentil Soup is delicious, nutritious, and so easy to make with pantry items.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, Canadian, Indian
Keyword: cauliflower, Coconut Milk Soup, curry paste, lentils, vegan soup
Servings: 6
Calories: 410kcal
Author: Colleen

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 cup mild Indian curry paste* I used korma
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups red lentils rinsed
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lime juice of
  • 1 tsp cilantro or parsley fresh or dried

Instructions

  • In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high
  • Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes
  • Stir in curry paste, then tomatoes with their juice, and vegetable stock.
  • Add lentils and cauliflower florets
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and allow to simmer 15 minutes, or until lentils and cauliflower are tender
  • Remove from heat and use an immersion blender right in the pot to puree. Alternately, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor in batches.
  • Add coconut milk, reserving some of the cream for garnish, if desired, and continue to puree until blended.
  • Stir in lime juice and cilantro or parsley
  • Return to heat until just starting to simmer
  • Serve hot, garnished with coconut cream, and hot sauce (optional)

Notes

*I used korma, which is a very mild curry sauce. Adjust the quantity according to the spice level of your curry paste.
If you don't have fresh cauliflower, you can use frozen, or you can omit it altogether for a still delicious soup. Or you can replace the cauliflower with the same quantity of peeled potatoes or sweet potatoes.
This soup freezes very well. Just portion it into airtight freezer containers.
Chicken stock can be used in place of vegetable stock for a non-vegan version.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 864mg | Potassium: 1079mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3976IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 6mg

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24 thoughts on “Red Lentil Soup Recipe

  1. Yum! I will have to save this when my order of lentils arrive from the grocery store. I have yet to cook with lentils. Informative facts on the different type of lentils! I have learnt something!

    1. Hi Cynthia, I’m so happy that you learned something here, and I know that once you do some cooking with lentils, you’ll be hooked! Enjoy!

  2. I love using lentils in cooking, I especially love Puy lentils (which I think you call French lentils). That said, this red lentil soup looks fantastic and just the type of thing I would want to eat!

    1. Hi Matt, you are correct! Puy lentils are one specific type of French lentil, and they are lovely. Red lentils are much better suited to soups like this one, though. I hope you try it.

  3. Such a lovely recipe for our current times – I love how the ingredients are easy to find! And such a warm comforting looking dish. Putting this on my list of things to cook this week.

  4. I love the colour of this soup…it looks very inviting and I just want a bowl full! Glad I picked up a bag of red lentils the other day.

  5. We love all kinds of lentils and cook them often in a variety of fashions. Love how red lentils are fast to cook and very flavorful. This soup has a wonderful color and texture, it sure brings some warmth in our hearts.

  6. I love the versatility of lentils. Thanks for talking about their differences. Such great information. This recipe is a keeper!

  7. When I see a lentil soup, I know it is going to be amazing. Healthy, delicious and always great to have handy when you need a bowl of hot goodness!

  8. I always have red lentils in the house and I love homemade soup too, so will definitely be making this as it looks delicious and so hearty!

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