Spicy Red Lentil Soup Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

Red lentils soften up quickly when cooked, which makes them great for thickening soups. Tamarind paste has a sweet-sour flavor and can be found in Indian groceries or high-end supermarkets.



Ingredient Line: 
1 cup red lentils
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1 tsp. salt
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1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
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2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
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1 Tbs. vegetable oil
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2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
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1 15-oz. can light, unsweetened coconut milk
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1 Tbs. tamarind concentrate or paste, optional
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1 Tbs. ground coriander
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1 tsp. ground cumin
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1 tsp. turmeric powder
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1 small jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and minced
Ingredient Line: 
¼ cup chopped cilantro


  1. Combine lentils, salt and 5 cups water in large saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Blend lentils with whisk for rustic texture, or purée in food processor for creamier feel.
  2. Purée tomatoes and ginger in blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until just golden, stirring often. Add tomato mixture, coconut milk, tamarind if desired, coriander, cumin, turmeric and jalapeño. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in lentils, and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Nutrition Information: 

10 g
Total Fat: 
7 g
Saturated Fat: 
4 g
27 g
577 mg
6 g
3 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

this is the recipe for the red lentil soup from Whitegrass. They told me they got it from Vegetarian Times.

I agree that this soup had pretty good flavor but turned out very watery, not the consistency I was hoping for.

Delicious soup. Used dried cilantro and doubled the amount of lentils to get a thicker consistency. Served over rice, garlic naan on the side - perfect meal for a cold winter night!

this soup was so sour. had to add additional coconut milk to cut the sourness of the tomatoes. maybe i bought a really sour batch.

I have found the tamarind was making this recipe and some others I have a little sour

Tasty! Again, this recipe was a little too watery for my taste so i cut out some of the water. I also didn't add the tamarind.

I agree - the soup was too watery and sour so I added extra coconut milk (a can of full fat variety) and made extra veggies in a wok to add to thicken it up. Next time I would use half the water... But it was tasty over fried thai noodles and with a dallop of plain yogurt. Thanks.

Great recipe, although I did make some changes. I used 2.5 times the lentils and cooked them in homemade broth instead of water. When they were done, I simply added the other ingredients to the lentils. I don't do canned coconut milk due to concerns about the BPA in the cans, so I used creamed coconut instead. I doubled the spice amounts because of the extra lentils, but I kept the amount of tamarind the same, which was perfect. If you're following the recipe the way it's written, try using half the tamarind and taste before you add more.

I agree with everyone in that it was too watery. I am not a vegetarian so used chicken broth. When I realized how watery it was I drained some of the broth. Then when I dumped it in the tomato mixture, I added some more lentils, maybe 3/4 of a cup and it came out more like what I expected. I put half the tamarind. I will probably leave it out next time.

I have been making this recipe for years & it's always a hit. I usually drain the lentils after cooking, keeping just a bit for thinning, as necessary. Though, the coconut milk and pureed tomatoes usually have enough liquid that I have no use for the reserved cooking liquid. I love the full strength of the tamarind, often adding more, to taste. I serve with a yogurt/grated cucumber/raw garlic raita & plate with steamed kale, carrots and broccoli. Excellent recipe :)

we were going out to dinner tonight. I made this for lunch tomorrow. Change of plans. Dinner home tonight with addition of garlic bread. We added some leftovers-rice spinach. Can't say enough good things.

Fantastic!! This was such an easy recipe and delicious! I skipped the tamarind but it was still perfect. Thank you for posting....!