Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup

To be completely honest this Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup surprised me.  I expected it to be tasty, and I knew it would be satisfying thanks to the coconut milk, but I was surprised at how subtly fragrant and delicious all of the flavors combined to be.

The flavors are mildly of curry, but not a kind of curry that beats you over the head or fills your house.  The cumin and coriander are savory, and yet the ginger and coconut milk provide a light fragrance and sweetness as well.  If you’re not a lentil lover red lentils might be just the thing for you – in this soup they practically dissolve, and in the end you’d hardly guess they’re there, as they combine with the coconut milk to provide an overall thick and creamy texture that is lovely.  Sauteed garbanzo beans make the soup hearty enough for a meal and add an extra layer of umami and texture.  The jalapeno provides a nice counter to the sweetness of the coconut milk.  Overall the soup has such a well-rounded yet subtle flavor profile that I just loved.

The kiddos gave it their endorsement as well, captured without words in this lovely portrait.  They think you should give it a try!Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup Love

Red Lentil and Coconut Milk Soup
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Adapted from Coconut Red-Lentil Curry, Gourmet 2006
Total Prep Time: 45 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Serves:  4 with leftovers

1 onion, cut into small dice
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated fine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 jalapeno, minced (can omit or remove seeds if you prefer less spice)
1 ½ cups dried red lentils
1 13 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 ½ cups cooked garbanzo beans, from 1 can or ½ cup dried (rinse and strain the beans if canned)
8 ounces fresh spinach, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Place a medium-large soup pan over medium heat and add a large drizzle of EVOO.  Add the chopped onions and the garbanzo beans and saute until the onions are softened and fragrant and the garbanzo beans are lightly golden.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and turmeric and saute until the spices become fragrant, but don’t let the garlic become burned, another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk, 2 cups of water, lentils, and a teaspoon of salt along with some fresh black pepper, and bring to a simmer.  Allow the lentils to simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes until they are completely tender and begin to break apart.
  4. Stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the soup to simmer for another 3-5 minutes, just until the spinach is tender.  Serve warm or at room temperature.