Skip to content

Coconut Red Lentil Soup

October 3, 2010

By Kath Dedon


I usually don’t think of lentil soups as being “beautiful”, but Coconut Red Lentil Soup is a very pretty bowl of soup, especially when garnished with bright green onions and cilantro. And the taste is amazingly good!

Carrie made the soup last week and recommended it to me, declaring that it is “DELICIOUS!!” She had found it on one of my favorite blogs, Heidi Swanson’s (Heidi gave credit to the Esalen Cookbook for the recipe.)

Heidi’s recipe uses 1/3 cup of golden raisins, which she adds to the sauté of green onions and ginger in the butter. Since Bob really doesn’t care for raisins in savory dishes, I left them out. It was fabulous without them, but add them if it sounds good to you.

I made one minor change that simplified the recipe a bit. Heidi toasted the curry powder in a dry pan before adding it to the tomato paste mixture. I decided to cook the curry powder in the butter with the green onions and ginger. Since most recipes with curry powder that I have made call for cooking the curry powder in oil or butter (or ghee), this seemed like a reasonable change to me. It worked fine. (Bob appreciated having one less pan to wash.)

Heidi suggested serving it with cooked rice or farro. That would be quite good, I’m sure, but last night I served it on its own. We both loved it!


Coconut Red Lentil Soup

(Adapted from a recipe on


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 (It would probably serve 6 if served with a scoop of cooked rice or farro.)


For the soup:

1 cup (7 oz) yellow split peas

1 cup (7 oz) red lentils

7 cups water

1 medium carrot

About 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger

2 tablespoons butter (or oil for a vegan version)

4 green onions, sliced

Optional: 1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk

2 teaspoons salt


For serving:

4 additional green onions, sliced

Small handful of cilantro, chopped

Optional: cooked rice or farro


Red lentils and yellow split peas


1. Rinse the yellow split peas and red lentils well in a strainer.

2. Put the split peas, lentils and water in a large pot and bring to a boil.

3. While the soup is coming to a boil, peel and cut the carrot into about ½-inch dice. You should have a little over ½ cup of diced carrots.


4. When the soup is boiling, reduce the heat so it is just simmering and add the carrots and about ¼ of the minced ginger. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. While it’s simmering, prepare the tomato paste mixture.

5. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions, the rest of the ginger.  (And the raisins, if you are using them.) Cook stirring for about 1 minute.


6. Add the curry powder to the skillet and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until it’s fragrant.


7. Add the tomato paste and stir so it is well blended. Cook for about another minute.


8. When the split peas are soft (after the 30 minutes of simmering), add the tomato paste mixture to the soup.


9. Stir in the coconut milk and the salt. Simmer, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes. It will get thicker if you simmer it a bit longer. I let mine simmer for about 35 minutes.


10. Serve in a bowl garnished with green onion slices and chopped cilantro. (Serve over a mound of rice or farro, if desired.)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2010 4:32 pm

    The last lentil dish I did not look appetizing (but tasted great), so I’m with you that lentils don’t always look attractive. But your lentil soup is a brilliant color and looks delicious!

  2. October 3, 2010 4:57 pm

    Thanks, Amy! In the past I’ve mostly used brown lentils, which do taste great. But the recipes turn out…well…brown. I love red lentils. They cook really quickly, too.

  3. October 4, 2010 2:06 pm

    Sounds super yummy! 🙂

  4. October 4, 2010 8:21 pm

    That is a beautiful soup! Love the addition of coconut in the recipe.

    • October 6, 2010 4:52 pm

      The coconut milk is really wonderful in it, Jason! Thanks for your comment.

  5. October 6, 2010 8:31 am

    Mmmm… My dad LOVES lentil soup – I’m sending this to him now! 🙂

  6. October 6, 2010 4:39 pm

    Wow! That soup looks amazing! I must have missed it on Heidi’s blog – thanks so much for writing about it so I can remember to make it now that the weather is turning cooler. It sounds perfect for a cozy night in with a fuzzy blanket. ^_^

    • October 6, 2010 4:54 pm

      Do try it! I’m really glad my daughter found it on Heidi’s blog. This is a soup that will go into my regular rotation.

  7. October 13, 2010 1:07 pm

    Yummm, great flavors in this soup. Looks delicious.

  8. April 25, 2013 7:18 pm

    Sounds like a very flavorful and filling soup!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: