Skip to Content

Red Lentil Soup

Hearty, healthy and cozy, creamy coconut milk enriches this simple, delicious, vegan-if-you-want-it-to-be, warmly-spiced red lentil soup recipe.


A bowl of homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, on the counter

A Versatile, Vegan-if-You-Want-It-To-Be Red Lentil Soup

Coconut milk makes this super simple red lentil soup recipe creamy and rich, while our favorite curry spices give it plenty of warmth and fragrance. Turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and ginger all do their part, but garam masala in particular deserves a forever-home in your spice cabinet. This classic Indian spice blend—often a blend of cardamom, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, fennel, cinnamon, and anise—is a powerhouse of warm, heady flavors. Make sure your spices are fresh—typically you want your ground spices to be no more than six months old—as they play a really important role in the final wonderfulness of this creamy, curried red lentil soup. Cauliflower, spinach, peas and chicken (if you’d like to add it) give the soup additional texture, too—split red lentils really cook down and we think they benefit from the addition of some chopped veggies.

spinach, onion, lentils, peas, chicken, coconut milk, cauliflower, canned tomatoes, coconut oil, spices and broth the counter

Everything You’ll Need To Make Red Lentil Soup

We find that red lentils lend themselves really well to Indian spices like cumin and garam masala, so our red lentil soup recipe takes inspiration from a heavily spiced coconut curry. It’s easy to make it vegan—just leave out the optional chicken and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and voila! Vegan red lentil soup! Here’s everything you’ll need to make our red lentil soup recipe:

  • Coconut oil

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Spices: garam masala, ground ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin

  • Stock

  • Crushed tomatoes

  • Coconut milk

  • Cauliflower florets

  • Red split lentils

  • Frozen peas

  • Spinach

coconut oil, garlic, onion, garam masala, ground ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin in a pot for red lentil soup
coconut oil, garlic, onion, garam masala, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk in a pot
coconut oil, garlic, onion, spices, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk, cauliflower and red lentils in a pot
homemade red lentil soup with chicken in a pot

Do Red Lentils Need To Be Soaked?

Nope! Red, brown, green—whatever kind you’ve got, lentils don’t need any soaking. However, each type of lentil is slightly different and they’re not as interchangeable as it seems like they should be. So, when you set out to make this red lentil soup, don’t swap in a different type of lentil, OK? We used split red lentils, which (a bit confusingly) are mostly what is sold in American grocery stores as “red lentils”—you’ll almost never see them sold whole.

homemade red lentil soup with spinach, chicken and peas in a pot
homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas in a pot

Is Red Lentil Soup Good for You?

Yes! This red lentil soup is extremely good for you, any which way you slice it (or should we say ladle it?). Whatever your concern—blood pressure, cardiovascular health, carb-counting, fiber-getting, nutritional density—this soup surely fits the bill. A super source of fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium, red lentils are super healthy for anyone. But, if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, they’re an especially good choice because they pack SO much protein! 12 grams per serving, in fact! So yes, red lentil soup is extremely good for you!

homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas in a pot
A bowl of homemade red lentil soup topped with cilantro and greek yogurt with a spoon sitting on the counter

How To Make Our Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Three easy steps. Not to be totally full of ourselves but this creamy, spicy red lentil soup recipe is sort of an instant classic, if you ask us! Here’s how simple it is to make:

  1. Make the red lentil soup base. Sauté the onions and garlic, then stir in the spices.

  2. Soup-ify the soup! Pour in the tomatoes, broth, coconut milk, lentils and cauliflower and bring the pot to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are totally cooked.

  3. Stir in the peas, chicken, spinach and salt. Simmer a few more minutes until everything is warm and cohesively soup-like.

A bowl of homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, on the counter
A bowl of homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, on the counter

Tools You’ll Need

More Easy, Healthy Coconut Curry Soup Recipes

A bowl of homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, on the counter
A bowl of homemade red lentil soup with chicken and peas topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, on the counter with a spoon

To Your Health!

Rich spices and coconut milk are trusty ways to make vegan soup recipes as satisfying as any! Give this red lentil soup recipe a try and let us know how you like it, OK? Snap a photo and share it! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Red Lentil Soup

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  25 min
  • Calories: 337


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk, shaken, full fat or lite
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • plain Greek yogurt, for serving
  • cilantro leaves, for serving


  1. In a large pot set over medium heat, heat the coconut oil until it glistens. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in the garam masala, ground ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and cumin. Pour in the stock, crushed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir to combine.

  3. Add the cauliflower and red lentils. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils and cauliflower are tender, about 15 minutes.

  4. Stir in the peas, chicken (if using), spinach and salt and cook until the spinach is wilted and peas are no longer frozen, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.

Note: Yield is 1 ½ cups per serving. To freeze this soup, cool it down to room temperature, place it in an air-tight container and pop it in the freezer for 2-3 months. To serve, thaw completely in the fridge and heat it gently in a pot over medium heat. Save the yogurt until ready to serve, do not freeze or rewarm it with the yogurt mixed in.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories337
  • Protein13 g
  • Carbohydrates14 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber7 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium604 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Red Lentil Soup

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Aimee

    Could you make this in an instant pot?

    We haven't tested it in an instant pot yet.

  • Amy

    I am so excited to make this recipe, but am wondering if I make it tonight, will it reheat well tomorrow, or should I wait and make it tomorrow?
    Thank you so much!

    Yes, you can reheat it next day. Hope you enjoy Amy!

  • Anna Banner

    Did you parboil the chicken?

    You will want to fully cook the chicken before adding it to the soup. Hope you enjoy Anna!

  • Aislinn McCann

    Any chance broccoli might work instead of cauliflower? 🤔

    We haven't tried it with broccoli not sure it would hold up as well as the cauliflower but we'd love to hear if you try it!

  • Merilyn Konnerth

    The flavor is sensational! I added 1/2 tsp black pepper so that the turmeric was more beneficial.
    Solid win! Love it! Hope it’s as good after I freeze it.

    Thanks Merilyn, happy you loved it!

  • Ellie

    I put this through a food processor and made it into a veg bolognese sauce. It was amazing!

    Nice idea Ellie, glad you loved it!

  • Angela

    I absolutely love this recipe! The depth of flavor is incredible. It’s so hearty, and I will definitely be making it regularly!

    Thanks Angela, we are so happy you love it!

  • Sandy

    This was delicious! Another great soup recipe!

    Thank you so much Sandy!

  • Jenn