Soups & Stews

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

at a glance
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
5 — Votes 7 votes

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Top down view of two bowls of red lentil soup topped with a drizzle of coconut milk, chopped cilantro, and garlic in bronze rimmed white bowls with bronze spoons on a turquoise surface with a teal linen draped in the corner, a wooden bowl with flaky sea salt, lime wedges, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Did you know the lentil is one of the oldest standing legumes and has been providing sustenance and nutrition to humans since prehistoric times? They are humble in nature, but incredibly nutritious and super filling. Loaded with protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and a plethora of minerals (like iron, folate, and phosphate), they are a quick-cooking option for adding depth to any meal, including this quick and easy lentil soup.

This red lentil soup is really something special. The aromatics of onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot build the foundation of flavor that enhances the earthy, nutty notes of the red lentil, all engulfed in a rich and creamy broth with just a hint of spice. Optional (but HIGHLY recommended) is to top your soup with a spoonful of crispy, garlic Tarka. The butter-fried garlic adds a little sweetness and a soft crunch that bursts with flavor in your mouth. This soup will warm your tastebuds and your soul, and we hope it finds its way into your regular fall rotation!

Red Lentil Soup Ingredients

Top down view of lentil soup ingredients on a gray and white marble surface.
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger (or 2 ½ teaspoon of dried ginger), grated
  • 2 large carrots (or 3-4 small carrots), coined
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 2 ½ cups of chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 13.5-ounce-can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Chopped cilantro (about ¼ cup)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Optional Garnishes

Feel free to pick and choose garnishes as you’d like! The garlic Tarka is more involved but really, really delicious.

  • Garlic Tarka: ⅓ cup of ghee or extra-virgin olive oil + 12 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Plain full-fat yogurt
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley

How to make Red Lentil Soup (Stovetop)

For how bold and delicious this soup is, the process is pretty easy! Here’s how you’ll do it:

Top down view of a white pot with olive oil and onions sweating in the pot.
Top down view of carrots and onions mixed with spices in a white pot.
Top down view of lentil soup ingredients in a white pot.
Hand pouring bowl of red lentils into a white pot with a wooden spoon and lentil soup ingredients.
Lentil soup ingredients combined in a white pot.
Cooked lentil soup in a white pot on a gray and white marble surface.
  1. Saute the onions – heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices – add garlic, ginger, and carrots and saute for 1 minute. Then add spices to coat the vegetables.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover – add broth, coconut milk (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish), crushed tomatoes, salt and lentils. Bring the soup to a low boil, reduce to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer gently until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, 20-25 minutes.
  4. To make the optional garlic Tarka – in a small pot or skillet, melt the ghee over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the garlic is golden brown (do not let it burn).
  5. Garnish and enjoy – garnish with a drizzle of the garlic Tarka (optional), a ¼ cup of coconut milk, a pinch of cayenne, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

What to Serve with Red Lentil Soup

This soup is delicious alongside naan or any other flatbread. If you’re looking for a veggie accompaniment, this simple arugula salad pairs beautifully too!

Storing Red Lentil Soup

Store your leftover lentil soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator (for up to 5 days) or freezer (for up to 3 months). Let the soup thaw in the fridge overnight (if frozen), and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through! 

Top down view of bowl of lentil soup garnished with drizzle of coconut milk, sprinkle of cilantro, and garlic on a turquoise surface with lime wedges, bulb of garlic, black cast iron mini pot with garlic parka, and wooden bowl with flaky sea salt.
Q Do red lentils have to be soaked before cooking?
A

This recipe does not call for soaking the lentils ahead of time. They’ll head straight into the pot with the broth, coconut milk, and crushed tomatoes, and simmer until cooked!

Q Do you need to pre cook lentils for soup?
A

You don’t! The dry lentils will go into the pot as is!

Q What does red lentil soup taste like?
A

This red lentil soup is bold and super flavorful. The curry powder gives it a delicious Indian-inspired flare.

Q What can I add to red lentil soup?
A

We recommend garnishing your soup with garlic Tarka, coconut milk, cayenne, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Alternatively, a dollop of plain full-fat yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, or fresh chopped parsley would also be delicious.

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Red Lentil Soup

By: Lindsay Bare
5 — Votes 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients  

For the Soup

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2-inch piece ginger grated (or 2 ½ teaspoons of dried ginger)
  • 2 large carrots coined
  • teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • cups chicken broth
  • 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne for garnish
  • Cilantro chopped, for garnish
  • Juice of one lime for garnish

For the Garlic Tarka (Optional)

  • cup ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic peeled and minced

Instructions

  • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic, ginger, and carrots and saute for 1 minute. Then add spices to coat the vegetables.
  • Add broth, coconut milk (reserving 1/4 cup for garnish), crushed tomatoes, salt and lentils. Bring the soup to a low boil, reduce to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer gently until the lentils are tender, but not mushy, 20-25 minutes.
  • If you're making the garlic Tarka: in a small pot or skillet, melt the ghee over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the garlic is golden brown (do not let it burn).
  • Garnish with a drizzle of the garlic Tarka (optional), a ¼ cup of coconut milk, a pinch of cayenne, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Red Lentil Soup
Amount per Serving
Calories
532
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
32.6
g
50
%
Saturated Fat
 
26.8
g
168
%
Cholesterol
 
3.1
mg
1
%
Sodium
 
1395.9
mg
61
%
Carbohydrates
 
49.8
g
17
%
Fiber
 
9.4
g
39
%
Sugar
 
8.3
g
9
%
Protein
 
17.2
g
34
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Notes

  • The nutrition facts are per serving and do not include the optional Garlic Tarka.
  • If you’re enjoying this as an appetizer or side, it’ll serve 6-8.
Optional Garnishes:
  • Garlic Tarka: ⅓ cup of ghee or extra-virgin olive oil + 12 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Plain full-fat yogurt
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley
Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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    Recipe Rating




  1. amanda says

    amanda —  09/05/2022 At 07:16

    Hi! I was wondering about the nutrition facts for the recipe, they don’t seem to be there? Also, Is the taste of coconut milk noticeable, it’s not a favorite flavor in our family. If so, what could we sub?

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  09/06/2022 At 14:27

      Hi Amanda! We’re looking into the nutrition facts. They should definitely be there for this recipe. Sorry about that. As far as the coconut milk, we don’t think it is noticeable, but if it is a flavor your family is sensitive to, you could always sub for regular milk or heavy cream. -Team FF

  2. Amanda Brown says

    Amanda Brown —  09/05/2022 At 12:04

    5 stars
    I loveee this recipe. Just made it for lunch and it was fantastic! It will be going into the fall soup rotation, for sure.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  09/06/2022 At 14:28

      We are so glad to hear that, Amanda! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. -Team FF

  3. Sarah says

    Sarah —  09/18/2022 At 19:42

    Hi! First off, this was soooo delicious!!! I will be making this on repeat. I was wondering if the nutritional info was for the entire dish? Should it be divided by 6?

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  09/19/2022 At 19:57

      Hi Sarah! The nutritional info is per serving based on 4 servings. -Team FF

  4. Elizabeth says

    Elizabeth —  10/01/2022 At 18:55

    What would you recommend as a sub for coconut milk? I have a sensitivity to coconut.

    • Melissa Guevara says

      Melissa Guevara —  10/02/2022 At 21:24

      Heavy cream or milk are great substitutes! -Team FF

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