Curried Lentil Tomato and Coconut Soup

Made the second lentil soup this week, although using red lentils rather than green lentils. The idea is the same: comfort food during the busy yearend holiday season. However, this curried lentil tomato and coconut soup has little resemblance to the green lentil soup. This one is spicy spiked with ginger, garlic, curry powder and red pepper flakes. A can of crushed tomatoes gives the soup full body. A can of coconut milk imparts a creamy rich finish to the soup.

I found this recipe in the December issue of Bon Appétit with the heading, “comfort me with soup,” with a compelling narrative. “Extravagant holiday feasts are meant to be indulged in once a year. But as far as Ottolenghi is concerned, a bowl of soup is forever.” I have marked this recipe to make since the day I read it.

It was nice to have my daughter home over the holidays. She often brings me exciting recommendations on books, podcasts, Netflix series or new restaurants. This time she came home with a bad cold and cough. Still she helped to make deserts for the holiday dinner party, together with all the setup and cleanup. I knew all she wanted was not more excitement but curling up in a comfortable chair and chill. So I gave her the culinary equivalent of that: a big pot of lentil soup.

The curried lentil tomato and coconut soup checks a number of boxes. It’s gluten free, dairy free, meat free and guilt free. It offers quiet comfort amid the whirlwind of holiday activities.

Curried Lentil, Tomato and Coconut Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 2½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup red lentils
  • 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro (or parsley, or scallions), plus leaves with tender stems for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
  • Lime wedges (optional, for serving)



Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, ½ cup cilantro, a generous pinch of salt, and 2½ cups water; season with pepper. Set aside ¼ cup coconut milk for serving and add remaining coconut milk to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft but not mushy, 20–25 minutes. Season soup with more salt and pepper if needed.


To serve, divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.


Adapted from Bon Appétit "Notes from test Kitchen" by Yotam Ottolenghi

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  • Reply
    Kim Tracy
    December 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I’m sorry to hear your daughter was sick over the holiday (my husband and kids all had the same thing going on and so did a lot of others). Of course, if she had to be sick then being at home with mom is the best remedy for that and I’m sure she really appreciated this comforting lentil soup with all the wonderful aromatics.

    The last version you made is the classic version I’m familiar with but this version is definitely one I’d love to try!

  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    December 31, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Happy New Year! This lentil soup looks good. I should really try and cook more from Ottolenghi.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    This looks and sounds like something we’d love to eat. Hope your daughter is feeling better!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I hope your daughter has recovered by now. That is a comforting and delicious bowl of soup!
    Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    January 3, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    I thought I made all the Ottolenghi red lentil soups but I must have missed this one. 😉 It looks delicious. Hopefully it made your daughter feel better. Happy New Year.

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