A healthy and delicious curried red lentil soup that uses just seven real food ingredients, is ready to eat in 30 minutes, and includes vegetables to make it a one dish weeknight dinner option. Easily made vegetarian or vegan by using vegetable broth.
Make sure to check out more recipes like this one on the Quick Healthy Recipes page!
Soup is a staple on our menus, and I really only take a break from it when it gets hot in the summer. I love a good tomato soup with cheesy toast, and this cheese soup got my kids to eat cauliflower when they were younger.
And making a delicious soup from the bones and scrap of a turkey or chicken is now a fall and winter tradition the whole family loves.
But I grew up eating canned soups, so I thought soup must be hard to make from scratch. And while some soups might be complicated or time consuming, what I learned after making my first soup (the tomato soup) is that for the most part they are not.
Many are ready in just minutes, and those soup recipes that need more time, it's hands-off cooking, like this lentil stew with sausage with a soup-like consistency that takes a couple hours but it's mostly stove top time.
That's typically the case with beans and pulses like lentils, they often take a bit more cooking. But there is a lentil that doesn't need a lot of cooking - split red lentils.
Do red lentils need soaking?
No, red lentils do not need to soak - and neither do any lentils. But it's red lentils that are the quickest cooking lentil, dissolving as they cook to make a nice thick soup.
All of this makes this recipe for curried red lentil soup from scratch quick and easy to make. Even if you are a bit slow chopping, it's still only 30 minutes, start to finish.
This is a great addition to your menus for those nights you need something hearty, yet quick and healthy.
Curried Red Lentil Soup Recipe
I'm not sure where I got the original recipe, but it called for just four real food ingredients. Which of course I couldn't leave alone. How could we have a soup without onions or garlic? And think of the boost nutritionally it would get from using chicken bone broth instead of plain water?
So my adaptation calls for seven ingredients (do we need to count a bit of oil and salt?), which is still pretty simple, you have to admit.
Oh, and the bone broth is easily switched back to water - or add a vegetable broth - to keep this vegetarian or vegan.
The flavor is all good curry-ness, and you can make it spicy by adding hot curry (or a bit of cayenne if using regular curry powder), which I always do.
Are lentils healthy for you?
A heart healthy food, lentils add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet, providing protein that can replace meat in meals. And combining them with other vegetables like this recipe does makes this a great healthy option.
This soup is surprisingly hearty for being a meatless dish - Brian thought I should bottle it and sell it as a weight-loss plan because it was so filling!
Well, I did serve it with sourdough cheese bread, which is all good because we're careful with our portions, right?
Other breads to serve with this lentil soup:
- Amazing 100% Whole Wheat Flaky Homemade Biscuits
- Easy Artisan Bread Recipe
- Tutorial: Simple French Baguettes Recipe - The Bread You Can't Stop Eating
Fast and Easy Curried Red Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound red lentils
- 2 large carrots chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 teaspoons regular curry powder or 2 teaspoons hot curry powder or to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon salt less if using a salty broth
- 7 cups broth vegetable, chicken (or water)
- 4 cups fresh spinach chopped*
- Heat olive oil, onion, and garlic in a large soup pot over medium heat until onion softens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients, except for the spinach, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are becoming thick, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add chopped spinach and stir it in until it wilts, about 1-2 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
Other Easy Soups To Try:
Quick Corn and Sausage Chowder
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in May of 2011.
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The Fantasy cooking says
In my country we don't have a recipe like this but it looks so easy to prepare with very simple ingredients! Definitely gonna give it a try!
Sue R. says
Making this for supper right now...with a few variations because of what I had on hand. I also wanted to say that I've been reading your blog for a little while now and so appreciate your do-able recipes and practical outlook on life. Refreshing! Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed it, Sue - and thanks so much for the encouraging words, it means so much to me!!
I've never cooked lentils before... Do they become soft in that 15-20 min or did you presoak them?
That's one of the reasons I love lentils, Sarah, there's no need to soak them! Red lentils cook even faster than brown, so yes, they are totally cooked in that amount of time. 🙂
Tara @ Feels Like Home says
Yum! This sounds so delicious!
Jami, thanks for the recipe. Sure looks good. I bet smells delicious!!
[email protected] says
sounds yummy but would be a new food for me! 🙂
Curry and lentils, those are home favorites. It's must try recipe.