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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Red Lentil Soup Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- ½ 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
- 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)