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.

Best Lentil Soup

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!

Vegetarian lentil soup recipe ingredients

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!).

Best Lentil Soup

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

Best Lentil Soup

rate this recipe:
4.99 from 319 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
Meet my favorite recipe for lentil soup! It's warming & delicious, made with tomato, creamy coconut milk, ginger, and a bit of curry.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • cups water
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup diced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and lightly browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat to low as needed.
  • With the heat on low, add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, lentils, water, coconut milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer, stirring only occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. If your soup is too thick, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup more water to reach your desired consistency.
  • Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes

Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. If it thickens too much in the fridge, stir in a little water while you reheat it until you reach your desired soup consistency. This soup also freezes well.

This recipe adapted from Ottolenghi’s recipe on Epicurious.

448 comments

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  1. Liza Pams
    10.01.2023

    Love this recipe! Can’t stop eating it!

  2. cheryl
    09.29.2023

    5 stars
    This soup is a big hit! Wow, I have had a lot of lentil soups and this one far exceeds any lentil soup I have ever had even in restaurants. Thank you very much! Followed the recipe exactly and it is perfect!

  3. Kayla
    07.23.2023

    5 stars
    I LOVE this soup!! I make it at least once a month for my weekly meal prep. So good!! Thanks for so many great recipes ♥️xoxo

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.24.2023

      I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  4. Perla
    05.25.2023

    5 stars
    Delicious!!!
    I did it exactly as the recipe says and it’s my favorite lentil soup. I’ll definitely make it more times.

    • TLA
      06.17.2023

      5 stars
      Agreed! This soup is seriously good. My new favorite lentil soup too.
      I blended it smooth.

  5. Donna
    04.24.2023

    I’m looking forward to trying this. Can I substitute almond milk for the coconut milk?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.27.2023

      Hi Donna, you could, but the coconut milk adds a really nice richness to this soup. I might recommend this lentil soup recipe instead (find stovetop instructions in the bottom of the recipe card) if you’re looking to skip the coconut milk.

  6. T. James
    03.28.2023

    This looks amazing! Would this translate well to a slow cooker?

  7. Kaethe
    03.19.2023

    This soup is a part of our bi-weekly rotating soups. 🙂 yummy, soooo good!!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.23.2023

      So glad you love it!

  8. Rachel
    03.13.2023

    I have a homemade curry paste I’m thinking I might use in place of the ingredients in step 1 and 2. Do you have a recommendation on what amount I might use?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.15.2023

      Hi Rachel, without tasting it, I’m not sure – you could start with a few tablespoons and taste from there.

  9. Lily
    01.30.2023

    5 stars
    I made this last night and it is fantastic. My husband, a few bites in, stopped to tell me to make sure I saved this recipe and I received several more compliments the rest of the evening. A definite winner. My only change was I added .5 cup less water.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2023

      Hi Lily, ha ha, I’m so happy to hear it was such a hit!

  10. Margaret
    01.14.2023

    5 stars
    We love this recipe! Definitely will become a regular in my house. I added some chopped carrots and kale to bump up the vegetables, but otherwise wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.16.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  11. brittney
    01.05.2023

    Hi!
    Are you able to substitute the green lentils with any other lentils ?

    Thanks !

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.06.2023

      Hi, black lentils are a great sub. Red lentils will also work here, though they’ll be much softer and create a thicker soup than the green lentils would.

  12. Dana
    01.01.2023

    Any idea how to convert this to making it in the Instant Pot?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.03.2023

      Hi Dana, We haven’t tested this recipe in the Instant Pot, so I can’t say for sure. In our separate Instant Pot lentil soup recipe, we sauté the aromatics, then Pressure Cook on High for 15 minutes and allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally. I’d suggest trying that timing if you want to make this recipe in the Instant Pot!

  13. Feather Billings
    12.05.2022

    5 stars
    We make this lentil soup weekly, and love it for many of the same reasons already mentioned. Quick and easy prep, simple ingredients and delicious leftovers! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.06.2022

      I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  14. Janie
    12.04.2022

    5 stars
    I love this soup too! I make it frequently because I crave it (lol) and it freezes well. I buy a large chunk of fresh ginger, peel it and chop in a mini cuisinart. Then I freeze the extra chopped ginger to use in my next soup. It helps the soup go together more quickly! I also buy organic Hunza French Green lentils online. Grown in Wisconsin. The flavor is excellent.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.06.2022

      That’s a great tip about the ginger – thanks! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the soup.

  15. Floriane
    11.09.2022

    5 stars
    Did that one yesterday and everyone loved it! That recipe is definitely joining my everyday notebook! Thanks

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.11.2022

      I’m so glad you love the recipe!

  16. Mel
    11.06.2022

    Thank you for this versatile, easy to make recipe. Like others I bulked it up with a few extra veggies: sweet potato, carrot, red bell pepper. Added G Masala spice and turmeric for the heck of it, but wow. WOW! Thank you, thank you for a fantastic, adaptable, one dish family meal. Everyone was happy with this one!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.11.2022

      Hi Mel, I’m so glad you love the recipe!

  17. Arias Juliana
    10.23.2022

    5 stars
    This soup is delicious 😋

    Do you have the nutritional value for this recipe?

    • Phoebe Moore
      10.28.2022

      Hi, we don’t calculate nutrition info for our recipes. If you like, you can plug it into an online nutrition calculator like MyFitnessPal. So glad you enjoyed it!

  18. nurp
    10.20.2022

    What can I substitute for lime in this recipe? I have variety of vinegars and lemon.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2022

      Lemon would be my second choice.

  19. Leah
    10.15.2022

    5 stars
    This is delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe. I did add some additional odds and ends from my veggie drawer, finely diced butternut squash and Lacinto kale. I also did not thin it down and served it with basmati rice. My family loved it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.16.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.