This vegan Curried Red Lentil Soup with Veggies came together the way most soups do in our house: with a craving for soup, a quick assessment of what’s on hand, and figuring out what needs to be used up.
My Best Ideas Come to Me on The Beach
One morning I was searching through my pantry for something and discovered a 1lb (454g) bag of organic red lentils that I had forgotten about. Hmmmm. A few hours later, driving home after a cool morning walk on the beach with my dog, I decided it was a perfect day to use those lentils and make a soup for lunch! Just thinking about it I started getting a little hungry, lol.
Lets Make Curried Red Lentil Soup!
Back at the house, I got the sand off Hazel’s paws, went to the kitchen and started the lentils cooking in the salted water. Then, I pulled open my vegetable drawer to see what was on hand. I found some celery (what I call soup celery when it is getting sad, but still green), carrots (always on hand), a zucchini and a beautiful bunch of organic kale. Perfect!
Less Than an Hour to “Let’s Eat”!
While the lentils cooked, I chopped up the vegetables and threw them in, adding the spice and coconut milk. By the time the lentils were done, the vegetables were tender and lunch was ready! The beauty of lentils, compared to most other legumes, is the relatively short cooking time without requiring soaking – approximately 40 minutes. That means a hearty and healthy soup can be ready for a small crowd in less than 1 hour. Add a salad, or a crusty loaf of bread, and you will be a hero with very little fuss or effort (and who doesn’t want to be a hero?).
For the Instant Pot Users
Since creating this recipe, we started using an Instant Pot (which has been a game-changer for lots of dishes). I have recreated this with the Instant Pot (Amazon link – definitely check them out!) and it only requires a cooking time of 13 minutes! The magic of pressure-cooking, right? In the notes section of the recipe below I give instructions for both.
The nutritional MVP award for this recipe goes to the red lentils. They are a greater source of protein, iron, zinc and folate than green lentils. In fact, 26% of the calories from lentils are attributed to protein, making them a great source in a plant-based diet. In addition, red lentils have essentially zero fat, so at 230 calories per cooked cup, they are a nutrient dense and fat free power food. The soluble and insoluble fiber that is abundant in this legume promotes gut health, slows digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar. Since they are Magnesium and folate rich, lentils also support heart health. Lets get more red lentils in everyone’s diet!
Soups Equal Economy, Frugality and Nutrition
Usually my goal is to maximize simplicity and minimize waste – soups are an excellent way to do both. In addition, the more vegetables you get into the soup, the greater the nutritional density. You just can’t lose!
This recipe came together almost effortlessly and we were so pleased with the results we knew we had to write it down so we could share it (and so we could make it again). 🙂 Whether you’re just back from a cold weather walk with your dog or trying to put together the healthiest food you can with limited time, or budget, you will love this Curried Red Lentil Soup with Veggies.
4–5 cups shredded kale or spinach (I have used a pound of frozen chopped greens.)
1 can or carton lite culinary coconut milk
Combine water or broth with lentils and salt in a soup pot
bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium. If the lentils are clumped from rinsing, gently separate them with a spoon
Cook for about 30 minutes (or until you are done chopping veggies)
Chop onions, carrots and celery and add to the pot.
Chop zucchini and add to pot with corn, spices and coconut milk.
Add the shredded greens and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are cooked, approx 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Instant Pot variation
Reduce water or broth to 4 cups.
Combine all ingredients.
Set manual time for 13 minutes.
Allow pressure to reduce naturally for about 10 minutes before releasing pressure.
Crock pot variation
Combine all ingredients.
Cook on high setting for 5 hours.
1 lb of lentils measures to approximately 2 cups and that is my starting point for many soups – 2 cups of legumes.
A pantry staple for me is lite culinary coconut milk because it adds a creamy yum to so many dishes with fewer calories than the full-fat version. Sometime you need to search carefully, but its available at many grocery stores.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race. She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).