coconut curry red lentil soup

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

The red curry paste in this recipe lends Southeast Asian flavor and a hint of spiciness to this soup. It is sold in small jars in the Asian food section of many supermarkets and specialty stores. If you use whole red lentils instead of split, the soup will take longer to cook and likely require more water. I like to serve this with whole wheat pita bread that's been lightly brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and warmed in the oven.
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 440 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups low-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red curry paste (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 1/4 cups split red lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or 3/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Pour the olive oil into a large pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes until tender. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté another minute or so.

  2. Add the broth, coconut milk, and curry paste and stir to blend. Stir in the lentils, brown sugar, and fish sauce and stir well. 

  3. Turn heat to high. When the soup boils, turn the heat down until the broth simmers.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes and add the carrots and zucchini. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. Add the juice of the lime and stir well. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add a little water. Taste and add salt, if desired.

  5. Serve in bowls with cilantro scattered over the top to garnish.