Coconut Lentil Soup

Coconut Lentil Soup

You know what you can count on, when you live in Ontario, like we do? Winter. Every year. Right after fall. And yet… Lordy, the crying and belly-aching over the snow and the cold. You would think that no one has ever seen snow before. And yes, I am one of the loudest criers (you can take the girl out of the West Coast but you can’t take the expectation of balmy temps out of the girl) of them all. Listen, we’ve got many weeks to go. How many more weeks when the groundhog sees or doesn’t see his shadow? Many. But that doesn’t mean we have to take it lying down in a snow drift. We can fight the power with soup!

This soup is my new obsession and the best defence I can come up with for winter ennui. Not only is it easy peasy to make – a bit of sauteeing, get everything in your pot and you’re done – but the smell is so heavenly and exotic, you might just trick yourself that it’s not winter inside your house even if it’s still winter outside. And the taste is insane. For a really simple soup it’s got great, complex flavours – sweet, tart and just a bit spicy. Even the soup doubters that make up my family had to agree: it’s the bomb. I have a giant bag of red lentils in my cupboard right now but I’m going to use it up before spring. Soup Power!

photos by Maya Visnyei

Coconut Lentil Soup


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 big handful of fresh spinach, sliced into ribbons
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a big pot or Dutch oven to about medium.

Add your onions and carrots and saute them until they just begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Toss in your garlic, ginger and spices.

Give everything a good stir and allow it to cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and stir again.

Pour in the stock, water, coconut milk and lentils.

Give everything a good stir and let it simmer - not boil - for about 25 minutes.

Give it a taste to see that the lentils are nice and tender.

Throw in the spinach and stir it around until it just wilts.

Add the lemon juice and taste before adjusting for salt and pepper.



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  1. Laura
    February 14, 08:33 Reply

    Wow! That sounds delish! We’re soup fiends around here … and recent devotees to coconut milk … will definitely be giving this a try!

  2. Alexa
    February 14, 13:25 Reply

    Sounds yummy. We use a lot of canned beans in our house. Is canned okay? How do I prep beans otherwise? Thanks!

  3. sharon
    February 14, 20:38 Reply

    looks like you’ve got some cilantro on top – good addition.

  4. Lynne
    February 14, 21:10 Reply

    Made this tonight for dinner – yummy!!

  5. Chilli and Mint
    February 15, 06:05 Reply

    I love dal and your version looks divine. Red split lentils are a fabulous lentil to cook for a quick, cheap and nutritious meal. Real comfort food. Lovely post. Best Torie

  6. Ceri Marsh
    February 15, 09:46 Reply

    Laura – let me know if you give it a try. I wish my crew was more soup-centric!

    Alexa, red lentils cook really quickly so you really don’t need to do anything at all to them before adding them to the soup. I’ve never seen them canned. But are you thinking of using a different legume instead? I think chick peas could be really good – in which case, I always use canned (just rinse them) rather than dried. I don’t really have any experience with dried beans but I’m sure it’s cheaper. Let me know what you try!

    Lynne – I’m so thrilled you tried this and liked it!

    And Torie, let me know if you give it a try. The smell in your house when you’re making it alone is worth it!

  7. Deane
    February 22, 11:47 Reply

    Made it on the 15th and have been enjoying this soup all week for lunch – flavours are amazing (added more ginger and garlic, next time will add hot chilis – tastes great with Siracha sauce!)Thank you Ceri!

  8. Ceri Marsh
    February 22, 11:49 Reply

    Doesn’t everything taste better with Siracha? So glad this was a hit for you!!

  9. Candice
    February 24, 16:13 Reply

    Are the lentils tender? I would need to blend it because my boys won’t eat clumpy soups. I find they are always hard and I usually have to soak them from the day before?

  10. Ceri
    February 24, 17:11 Reply

    Hi Candice,
    Yes, the lentils are quite tender. You could give it a whiz with an immersion blender to smooth it out even more. Red lentils are quite quick and I’ve never soaked them in advance. Let me know how it goes for you!

  11. Heather
    February 24, 17:58 Reply

    I am so excited to make this! Couldn’t find coconut milk in a can. Got a small container if it. It says coconut milk beverage. That’s the same thing right?

  12. Ceri
    February 24, 18:58 Reply

    Hmmm… just be sure it’s only coconut milk and not coconut milk plus sugar or anything else funky! Let me know how it goes!!

  13. Heather
    March 06, 14:58 Reply

    Ahhhh having a bowl right now. Excellent recipe,

  14. Ceri Marsh
    March 06, 15:00 Reply

    So glad! Your coconut milk drink did the trick, I guess!

  15. Heather
    March 06, 15:40 Reply

    It did! I checked, there was nothing extra in it 🙂

  16. Mona
    March 10, 10:04 Reply

    Absolutely loved this recipe. I didn’t have red lentils so I used regular green lentils, and cooked them longer. It was still great. I’ve bought red lentils now, and I’m looking forward to making it again.

  17. College Cook
    April 13, 18:34 Reply

    I just made this and it is delicious! Such an easy recipe, came together quickly, and I’ll have lots of leftovers for the rest of the week. Thanks!

  18. Catherine
    October 22, 02:24 Reply

    This recipe was easy and delicious! Everything was already in my kitchen and I didn’t have to go shopping. This is the first time I’ve used red lentils and I like how quickly they cook. The flavor was amazing and my whole family loved it. Definitely a keeper!!

  19. Mike
    November 18, 14:38 Reply

    You sold me on this recipe with the line: “And the taste is insane.” lol.

    Seriously, with winter just around the corner here as well, I’m down for some insane lentil soup!

  20. Ceri
    December 18, 14:44 Reply

    Hi Murdena,
    Yes, absolutely. It’s so funny you wrote today – I was just about to make this soup! Let me know if you try it.
    Thanks for reading!

  21. Soupie Groupie
    November 20, 15:12 Reply

    I clipped this recipe out of the local daily free newspaper and it instantly became my favourite go to soup for the winter months. So easy to make and absolutely delicious. It also converted me to the Sweet Potato Chronicles recipes and so far everything I have tried of theirs has been fantastic. As a new convert to a meatless diet (I do still eat wild fish) it has helped me to see how delicious meals can be without including meat. I am just about to go out to buy ingredients to make this soup today on a cool, rainy, Vancouver November day.

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