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Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

This recipe calls for medium curry powder, but it’s flexible. If the one you have is mild or very spicy, adjust the heat level with more, or less, red pepper flakes.


  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 2½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder (such as S&B)
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus leaves with tender stems for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, ½ cup cilantro, a generous pinch of salt, and 2½ cups water; season with pepper. Set aside ¼ cup coconut milk for serving and add remaining coconut milk to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft but not mushy, 20–25 minutes. Season soup with more salt and pepper if needed.

  • To serve, divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

  • Do Ahead: Soup (without toppings) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Recipe by Yotam OttolenghiReviews SectionDelicious, easy, healthy recipe. And fast to make. Only suggestion is to tone down the acidic tomatoes by substituting a couple large tablespoons of tomato paste. This mixes with the coconut milk to make a creamy, saucy die forMine didn’t come out as red as these pics. I used a can of mild RoTel tomatoes because that’s what I had. Otherwise. I followed the recipe as written. It’s a very good, easy curry. I served it with Malabari parathas that I got frozen at Trader Joe’s. I love Yottam Ottolenghi. Every single recipe I’ve ever made of his is a big hit with my family. They are very rebellious about eating healthy food, so that is saying a lot.AnonymousPaso Robles, CA 04/29/20This is the only vegetarian meal my husband will eat. Easy, tasty, hearty, and made with shelf stable ingredients (perfect for quarantine)-- what's not to like? I use ginger powder when I don't have fresh on hand, and I've had it with and without the cilantro and lime juice (better with, but still good without). It's amazing served over rice!always_more_garlic04/18/20Yup super tasty and one of the easiest recipes I've ever made. Just chop, chuck it in and then let summer as you clean up the kitchen and set the table. Used coriander that I had chopped and frozen a while back after buying a huuuge amount of it. Worked beautifully. Dinner in no time!AnonymousGothenburg, Sweden03/24/20Last year, I made this for our teacher's Friday meager meal (during Lent) and it was so popular I am making it again! Some modifications in that I added all the coconut milk initially, and served it with both cilantro and avocado slices. I made it with a curry paste. This year with a curry powder, and both times with plenty of red chili flakes - most of my colleagues like it hot, but for the one that doesn't the avocado helps, and some sour cream smooths it out. I quadruple the batch, cook it the night before, and serve it warmed out of a crock pot. Serve with warm naan or tortillas. Yum.el primoTucson, AZ03/08/20Hi all! Well, to start out, I have lost a great deal of weight. Almost 300 lb! But I have discovered that since I am a salt-a-holic, I need to go with spices, herbs, and anything else that will give flavor to my food other than sodium. So I tried this recipe because I have been into Indian food, and Thai food within the last several months, and my sodium levels are way down! Woohoo! I used 1 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast diced and sauteed with all of the spices and the oil. I substituted the water with vegetable broth, and since the coconut milk is unsweetened....(this will sound weird) but I added a 1/2 C. of golden raisins, and then let the whole thing simmer. The raisins were just the little bit of sweetness that I wanted, along with the heat. This was really, really good, and the leftovers the next day were amazing. Why is food always better the next time around? LOL. I don't think I changed the recipe a lot but I think that tweaking to make your own is what is so good about the world of cooking!GrandmaPamDenver,CO02/28/20This is delicious - and I am not a fan of legumes. I want to like them, but it’s a texture thing. The tomatoes, and coconut milk help so much. It’s a wonderful, comforting soup! I will make it again and again. Maybe I am coming around to legumes after all?Hannah HellevangMoorhead, MN01/27/20Made this recipe tonight and it's definitely going into our rotation. Really quick, cheap, and easy and very flavorful. The only substitution I made was swapping out the water for chicken broth, however, next time I think I'd grate the ginger.Definitely worth doubling the recipe and having leftovers for later in the week.RenetteSan Francisco, CA01/27/20Mine turned out very different--more orange than red and a LOT spicier, but still very delicious! The lime cuts through the heat nicely. I dumped the whole can of coconut milk in while cooking to lessen the spiciness. I went a little too crazy with the red pepper flakes and curry powder! Will definitely make this again.I love this soup! I was tempted to puree but glad I refrained. Doubled the onion, which took triple the time to brown. Also doubled the garlic and used chicken stock instead of water as others reported doing. Dumped the whole coconut can in. Swapped parsley for cilantro as I suffer from the soapy gene. Nice for a winter evening.I made this for dinner on a whim tonight. I threw in a bunch of kale (in bite size pieces) near the end of the cook to nudge it into stew territory. So good. Already looking forward to lunch tomorrow!AnonymousBrooklyn, NY01/06/20Easy, quick, cheap, delicious and comforting ! I added ground coriander with the curry powder and omitted the cilantro for a 100% pantry staple version (1st of Jan, all the shops were closed). This is such a perfect recipe !Isabel helloMontreal, QC01/02/20Can I freeze this soup? Feedback would be greatly appreciated. ThanksAnonymousToronto 12/30/19This soup is fast easy healthy and delicious. I double the onion garlic ginger and curry. I make this every couple of weeks. The lime is essential. Great recipe thanks very much.AnonymousToronto 12/30/19My husband and I love this! We make it once every week in the cold season and probably every other when it's warm. We love taking the leftovers and making Japanese-style rice balls with the left overs for lunches or picnics.AnonymousWisconsin12/10/19Really good flavor but I would have preferred it just a tad creamier. Next time around I may bump up the heat and add nearly another can of coconut milk.erica_kellySavannah, GA11/04/19Just finished making this soup and it’s so good I’m putting it in my monthly rotation. I followed the recipe exactly.Thanks for this great recipe.Anonymousnew york 10/23/19This is a go-to recipe I love so much I dream about it. I usually don't have ginger hanging around, so I use ginger powder -- but think it would be even better with fresh. And yes, the lime is a must.marbrillBrooklyn, NY07/21/19Delicious, and so easy! I didn't have a can of crushed tomatoes, so I put a can of petite diced tomatoes in the food processor. Voila! Problem solved! The house smelled divine while this was simmering away. My daughter caught whiff of it and was all, "Hey mom, what are you making? That smells GOOD!":)Absolutely delicious! Made this tonight but added cauliflower and served with rice. Simple ingredients but wonderful flavour. Don't skip the lime! It adds so much to the dish. Perfect, simple and quick.AnonymousAuckland, New Zealand06/22/19Yes! Yes! Yes! I have a no tomato based soup person in the family so I made this with the carrots and celery and added vegetable broth. I also used Mike's Organic Curry Love Yellow Thai Curry paste instead of curry powder and finished it with the lime juice....fabulous! Just what I was craving...mmmmMichelle CollinsSan Diego, CA04/29/19This is a delicious recipe. I just made it for the first time and know it will be a great base for adjustments to what I'm feelin. I am normally a full fat in recipe type person but I'm currently cutting so I used light coconut milk (I know, I know) and added a blob of greek yogurt to serve with the cilantro. I also added extra garlic (always) and some smoked paprika.BeanBabeMinnesota04/09/19Amazing, I don't think you can go wrong with this one - I used a little extra garlic, used fire roasted diced tomatoes, coconut curry, and chicken broth - that is what I had. Added some water as well. Came together quickly and was delicious. Husband loved it - we had leftovers but just refrigerated as he wants to have it tomorrow... great recipe and nutritious as wellmartamohansugar land, tx03/04/19Delicious, quick and easy. I used double the Sun Brand Madras curry, onion, garlic and ginger. I also added cayenne pepper as I only had 1/4 tsp red pepper seed. Also chicken broth instead of water and 1 cup of lentils. This was based on reviews and that I love an intense flavours. I will make this soup again and again.AnonymousToronto, Ontario Canada 02/12/19This is the most amazing soup ever. I use Trader Joe’s precooked lentils and it comes together super fast. Tonight I didn’t have the canned tomatoes so I added a tbsp of paste and a finely diced fresh tomato. I’ve made it with curry paste, yellow curry powder and ras el hanout and it’s always delicious. I have also made it more stew like by adding rotisserie chicken and roasted sweet potato. So, so good! Lime and cilantro are critical for this simple soup.AnonymousSan Diego 01/31/19

Curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook (page 52) by Yotam Ottolenghi

Are you sure you want to delete this recipe from your Bookshelf? Doing so will remove all the Bookmarks you have created for this recipe.

  • tinned coconut milk
  • fresh ginger
  • red lentils
  • coconut oil
  • onions
  • chilli flakes
  • coriander sprigs
  • medium curry powder
  • tinned chopped tomatoes

Always check the publication for a full list of ingredients. An Eat Your Books index lists the main ingredients and does not include 'store-cupboard ingredients' (salt, pepper, oil, flour, etc.) - unless called for in significant quantity.

More soups please!

If you liked this recipe please try my Greek tomato toup with feta & basil, an ideal partner to crusty bread. A very easy and comforting soup is the traditional Greek chickpea lemon soup, it is delicious and humbly perfect. And real winner is my red kabocha soup with porcini mushrooms, it is creamy and sophisticated with layers of flavor that leave you satisfied & pleasantly surprised.

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Best Lentil Soup

Meet the BEST lentil soup recipe! Made with fire-roasted tomatoes, coconut milk, and curry powder, it's rich, nourishing, and absolutely delicious.

This first night that I made this lentil soup recipe, my family came over for dinner. Every time I’ve seen my mom since, she’s asked, “where is that lentil soup recipe?”

That says a lot about this soup, because my mom has very strict criteria for recipes that make it into her rotation. They have to have minimal prep, they have to be easy enough to eventually memorize (because cooking goes faster that way), and they have to be either batch-able or freezer-friendly so that she can eat them for multiple meals.

This curry lentil soup recipe checks all those boxes and more. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients like dry lentils, canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and spices, so it’s super easy to whip up without a trip to the store. It has a short cooking time – right around 30 minutes – so you can enjoy it any night of the week, and it freezes perfectly. But best of all, it’s absolutely delicious. Coconut milk, fresh ginger, and curry powder make it rich and comforting, but thanks to a big squeeze of lime juice, it still feels fresh and light. We love this soup, and I hope you do too!

Lentil Soup Recipe Ingredients

As I mentioned above, this vegan lentil soup is made with mostly pantry ingredients. Along with onion, spices, coconut milk, cilantro, and lime juice, it includes two of my favorite ingredients to keep on hand: French green lentils and diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Unlike brown lentils or red lentils, which become mushy as they cook, the French green lentils hold their shape well in this soup, giving it lovely texture. They’re also a great choice for lentil salads, so they’re a staple in my pantry. If you can’t find them at your regular grocery store, I like to buy Bob’s Red Mill’s French Green Lentils online.

As for the diced fire-roasted tomatoes, they give this vegan lentil soup a smoky depth of flavor. They’re an excellent addition here, but I like to use them anytime a recipe calls for diced tomatoes. Try them in this lasagna or this spaghetti bolognese (it uses lentils, too!).

How to Make Lentil Soup

For how flavorful this curry lentil soup is, this recipe is simpler than you might think. Start by sautéing onions over medium heat, and then add ginger, garlic, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and sauté a few minutes more. Next, stir in the tomatoes, lentils, water, coconut milk, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes, and finish the soup with chopped cilantro and a hefty squeeze of lime.

Serve this lentil soup with good crusty bread, a hearty salad, or a slice of avocado toast squeezed with lemon juice. A vegetable side dish, like roasted cauliflower or broccoli or a baked sweet potato, would be good with it as well. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to four days, or freeze them for up to a month!

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this lentil soup recipe, try one of these healthy soups next:

Or check out this post to find 25 of my favorite soup recipes! Then, find more hearty vegan recipes here.

Curried Lentil, Tomato and Coconut Soup

I’ve become soft. That’s what my East Coast family and friends tell me. LA has had an unusally cold and rainy winter and I can’t get warm. By “cold,” I mean below 60 degrees, but above 40 degrees. I know my friends in the midwest have NO sympathy for me. I wouldn’t either. But what to do if you feel cold? Make a warming soup.

I can’t stop making this winner from Bon Appetit and I thought it would be easier for all of us if the recipe had a permanent place on my website. If I didn’t have to recipe-test all the time, I would make this soup more often! It is everything I love: comforting, easy, flavorful, nutritious, inexpensive and makes use of pantry staples. I mean, what more could you ask for? The dominant flavor here is the curry powder, but it’s not overwhelming. My family liked it the way it’s written, I would not have minded a little more or even a little more heat because I really like spicy food. Red lentils have become a regular ingredient around here and they’re easy to find. I love the way they turn into mush when they’re cooked – pure comfort! Plus they have loads of fiber and protein making this an excellent meatless meal or weekend lunch. My son takes leftovers in his thermos with a few whole grain crackers!

Back to warming foods for a minute. If you are trying to stay warm, please do not drink cold drinks, smoothies, and raw foods/salads. These all have a cooling thermal nature and will work against your desire to feel warm. Warm soups and cooked foods, ginger and spices, black pepper and broths are where it’s at. I hope you all have a wonderful President’s Weekend! Check back for my dinner planner which I always post on Friday nights. If you are participating in my online cooking classes, the February class is UP!

Please tag me on Instagram @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman so I can see all your creations. I love seeing what you are cooking up!!

You can shop the tools I used for this recipe by clicking on the images below:

Yotam Ottolenghi's Curried lentil, tomato and coconut soup

This soup is so deliciously warming and made with ingredients that I usually have on hand (with the exception of fresh coriander). I have made it with ground coriander too and it is still delicious. It is quite spicy with the chilli and fresh ginger, so add less of these ingredients if you need. I have doubled the recipe that appears in Ottolenghi's "Simple" cookbook. Lentils are a nutrition powerhouse, full of fibre that feeds our gut microbes. Cooked and served in just over 30 minutes, this soup is faster, tastier and far more nutritious than take-away.

  • 2 tbs coconut (or EVOO)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 300g red lentils
  • 4 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g coriander stalks, roughly chopped, plus leaves to garnish
  • 2 x 400ml tins of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper

On a medium heat, heat oil and fry the onion (stirring frequently) until soft and caramelised. Add the curry poweder, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger and continue to fry for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the lentils and stir through, then add the tomatoes, coriander and 1000ml water, salt and pepper.

In a bowl, pour in the coconut milk and whisk gently until smooth and creamy. Keep aside a few tablespoons for garnish, and add the rest to the soup. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft but still holding their shape. If the soup looks thick, add a little more water.

Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1 (2 1/2") piece fresh ginger, peeled, finely grated

1 Tbs medium curry powder (powder not paste)

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish.

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well

Lime wedges, toasted coconut, and crusty bread (for serving)

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a medium sized pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry powder and continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Add the lentils, tomatoes, cilantro, coconut milk, 2 cups of water, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are soft.

Serve the soup in a big bowl topped with more cilantro, toasted coconut, and lime wedges.

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 onion , finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 1 400-mL can light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Boil 5 cups of water in a kettle.
  • Heat a large pot over medium-high. Add oil, then onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 3 to 4 min. Add garlic, curry powder and 1 tbsp water. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 min.
  • Add lentils and boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, stirring often, until lentils are mushy, about 30 min. Stir in coconut milk, honey and salt. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Curried Lentil Soup (Instant Pot)

Rich, creamy Curried Lentil Soup is a delicious vegan meal in a bowl. Lentils, curry, tomato sauce, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and cilantro are the stars of this instant pot soup.

Lentils are seeds in the legume family. They come in different colors – brown, black, green, red, yellow and orange. We’re using red, yellow or orange lentils because they are split and break down quickly.

Lentils are highly nutritious with 19 grams of protein and almost 16 grams of fiber per cooked cup. They are also low in calories and fat (but high in carbs) and packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium. No wonder they are considered an excellent meat substitute for vegetarians or those of us trying to cut back on meat. Also keep in mind that the recipe is both dairy free and gluten free.

This curried lentil soup is a cross between Indian and Thai flavors that include coconut milk, cilantro, curry powder and red curry paste. OK, that may sound a bit odd, but it works. You can make it as spicy or as mellow as you like. In fact, there are many variations you can try. I’ve listed a few below.

You can serve the soup as a starter or make it a complete meal in a bowl. It’s delicious served with warm Naan or any fresh bread.

If you like lentils, also try our very popular Red Lentil Vegetable Soup. Or how about our Vegetarian Split Pea Soup which uses a different variety of legume.


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