While I love to travel, I also adore bringing faraway places into my home through the kitchen. This curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup does just that.

Curry, lentils, and coconut milk marry well in this soup. The warm earthiness of the curry powder mingles with the bright acidity of the tomato. And the coconut lends its own distinctive flavor while making the soup creamy.

curried lentils, tomato and coconut soup

I am going a bit vegetarian with this one, but no one seems to mind. After all, this soup is comfort food at its finest.

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And while the soup will satisfy any comfort food cravings that you have, it’s healthy, too. Lentils are rich in iron, folate, and dietary fiber and are a great source of protein.

It’s fairly low in calories, too.

In this Article

What is coconut milk?

Coconut milk is a milky white liquid that is extracted by grating the pulp of mature coconuts. The opacity and rich flavor you will love are thanks to the high oil content, most of which is saturated fat.

Traditionally, coconut milk is found in, and extensively used throughout Southeast Asia, South Asia, Oceania, and East Africa.

Curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup

What is curry powder made of?

Usually, curry powders consist of turmeric, cumin, ginger, and black pepper. Sometimes garlic and cinnamon are added as well.

Of course, there are so many varieties of curry on markets, but they all share the same sweet warmth and pungent flavor that adds depth to your dishes.

What can I use instead of curry powder?

Ground cumin is one of the best alternatives to curry powder. As well as Curry paste, Chaat Masala, Sambar powder, Curry Roux, coriander seeds, and Tandori Masala.

Why You will Love This Curried Lentils, Tomato, and Coconut Soup Recipe

  • Simple – With convenient ingredients and an easy cooking process, this soup comes together quickly. 
  • Versatile – This delicious soup is as perfect for an easy weeknight dinner as it is a starter for a dinner party. 
  • Flavorful – With plenty of spices and aromatics, this soup has layers of flavor. 

Ingredients

You can easily source the simple ingredients in this recipe at most grocery stores.

Vegetable oil – You’ll need this oil to saute the onions. You can also use any other neutrally flavored oil like olive oil or avocado oil.

Yellow onion – Be sure to finely chop the onions into uniformly sized pieces so that they cook evenly.

Curry powder – Use any variety that you prefer, or experiment with different kinds.

Garlic cloves – Crush the garlic cloves so that they mix easily into the soup.

Ginger – Peel the ginger before slicing it finely. You can also use a microplane to grate it.

Red lentils – The lentils add heartiness to the soup, as well as plant-based protein.

Crushed tomatoes – Tomatoes bring bright color and flavor to the dish.

Chopped parsley – Parsley adds herbaceousness to the soup and makes a pretty garnish.

Salt – Salt enhances the flavors of the spices and aromatics.

Water – Water helps to thin the mixture — you can also use stock. 

Coconut milk – Coconut milk gives the soup its luxurious consistency.

Curried lentils, tomato, and coconut soup.

How to make this soup and tips

The preparation of this recipe is minimal. However, like all recipes, I strongly suggest you have all your ingredients prepared before heading to your stove.

  • Add the oil to a preheated medium saucepan.
  • Then, add the onions and cook while stirring until they become soft.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder, and continue to heat and stir.
  • Mix in the lentils before adding tomatoes, parsley, water, salt, and black pepper. 
  • Add the coconut milk to a bowl and whisk. Pour most of it into the soup. 
  • Increase the heat and boil the soup.
  • Once the soup has reached a boil, return it to a simmer.
  • When the lentils become soft, remove the soup from the heat and serve, or store once it has come to room temperature. 
  • Do not overcook your lentils — they will disintegrate in the process. Red lentils do not need pre-soaking either.
  • You can substitute the water with vegetable stock and still keep it vegetarian.
  • Coconut milk will become a clump when sitting on a shelf for too long. Make sure you shake the can well before opening it.
  • Save some of the coconut milk to be swirled over the soup once done.
  • I would not recommend using a slow cooker to create this recipe, as it will disintegrate the lentils.
  • I love using Le Creuset enamel cast iron Dutch oven pan — it is the best heat conductor.

If you want to add some protein to this fantastic soup, add cooked leftover chicken shredded. Quite filling, and the chicken will fill itself with intense curry coconut milk flavors. You can add your room-temperature chicken at the simmering stage of your recipe.

What are lentils?

Lentils, like beans, are legumes. High in protein, they grow in pods.

Typically sold dry, they look like tiny pebbles and have an earthy flavor. They are used mostly in vegetarian recipes in place of meat.

On the market, you will find a few types of lentils:

  • Beluga or black lentils.
  • French Green or De Puy
  • Red lentils or Masoor Dal if split. When red lentils are left whole are also called Corail.
  • And, of course, the most common brown lentils are also known as Sabut Masoor.
Curried Lentil, Tomato and Coconut Soup

What to Serve With Curried Lentils, Tomato, and Coconut Soup

This soup can be served alongside spiced lamb patties and couscous with apricots, a lentil, black beans, goat cheese, and baby greens salad, or coconut curry shrimp and couscous. It’s also great with saffron lemon chicken, grilled salmon, and prime rib

Variations on Curried Lentil Soup

  • Coconut – Have fun with this soup, and add a handful of shredded coconut to it. It will not add cooking time, but it will add extra flavor.
  • Curry – Add a bit more curry powder to intensify the flavor.
  • Heat – Add some extra spiciness and even more depth of flavor with some red pepper flakes.
  • Chicken – If you want to add some protein to this fantastic soup, add shredded leftover chicken. It’s quite filling, and the chicken will absorb the intense curry and coconut milk flavors. You can add your room-temperature chicken at the simmering stage of your recipe.

Other Savory Soups

Pad Thai Soup with Shrimp and Vegetables

Tuscan Bean Soup

Avocado Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup

Frequently Asked Questions

What culture are lentils from? 

Lentils hail from Middle Eastern countries like Turkey, Syria, and Greece. 

Why do people eat lentil soup? 

People enjoy lentil soup as a healthy way to get lots of nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Lentils themselves are a great source of protein, and the broth is hydrating. 

How many types of lentils are there? 

Lentils come in four varieties: red/yellow, brown, green, and specialty lentils. I use red lentils for this recipe because they are most suited for soups.

Curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup

Storage 

This soup can easily be stored and reheated, making it perfect for meal planning.

Make-Ahead: Make this soup ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to serve.

Refrigerator: Store this soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezer: Freeze the soup in a resealable plastic bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

A very rich-in-flavor soup that will satisfy your craving for curry.

Equipment and Ingredients used to make this recipe

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 5.5 qt., Cerise
$369.81
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02/18/2024 06:20 am GMT

Thai Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk, 13.66 fl oz
$8.47 ($0.62 / Fl Oz)
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02/18/2024 06:24 am GMT

Bob's Red Mill Lentil Beans, 27 ounce
$12.89 ($0.48 / Ounce)
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02/18/2024 06:10 am GMT

Curried Lentil, Tomato and Coconut Soup

5 from 14 votes
Curried lentils, tomato, and coconut soup.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Curry, lentils, and coconut milk marry well in this soup. Not to mention so easy to make.

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¾ cup red lentils,
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, + ¼ cup of roughly chopped to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 13.5 ounces coconut milk,

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan pour the vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry, stirring frequently for 8 minutes, until soft and caramelized.
  • Add the curry powder, garlic, and ginger and continue to fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the lentils, stir through for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, parsley, water, salt, and a generous number of grinds of pepper.
  • Pour the coconut milk into a bowl and gently whisk it until smooth and creamy. Set aside ¼ cup and add the remaining coconut milk to the soup. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the lentils are soft but still holding their shape.
  • Divide amongst four bowls, drizzle with the reserved coconut milk, sprinkle with parsley leaves, and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 616mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 604IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 6mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Curried lentils, tomato, and coconut soup.

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Originally published on October 29, 2021. Updated on October 7, 2023.