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Filled with plant-based protein and laced with bold flavors and creamy coconut milk, this spicy lentil soup is deliciously thick, comforting and full of nutrients. Make a big batch, it’s even better the next day.
Published Nov 2, 2022/updated Oct 30, 2023
One of the things I love about lentils is that you can truly turn this terrific pantry staples into a delicious pot of goodness that is brimming with nutrition.
This fabulous spicy lentil soup is the perfect example.
As with many of my soups, to add a little heat and depth of flavor, I use earthy spices like paprika, cumin and chili flakes. But what really brightens this spicy soup is the creamy coconut milk and the fresh, tangy lemon juice.
The combination of these ingredients pairs perfectly with the warm spices and thick lentils making this soup rich, creamy and full of flavor.
It’s also vegan and gluten free.
Now let’s see how to make it!
List of the ingredients
- Green or brown lentils
- Veggies (onion, carrots, celery, garlic)
- Spices (smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, chili flakes)
- Tomato paste (not pictured)
- Coconut milk
- Lemon or lime juice
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)
How to make spicy lentil soup
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Sauté the veggies in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, the spices, and stir to combine.
- Stir in the lentils, the broth, the tomato paste, salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 25-30 mins or until the lentils are soft.
- Add the coconut milk, cook for 5 more minutes.
- Turn the heat off, squeeze in lemon juice, add fresh cilantro or parsley, stir to combine.
- Ready to serve, enjoy!
Spicy lentil soup ingredients
Quality extra virgin olive oil: essential ingredient for flavor.
Veggies: the recipe starts with onion, carrot, celery, and garlic sautéed in olive oil to build a flavor base and to add extra nutrition.
Lentils: both dried brown or green lentils are fine, but make sure to rinse and drain them well before using in this recipe. Canned are ok too if you are short on time.
Spices: we use smoked paprika for smokiness and a subtle heat, turmeric and cumin have a slight bitterness that pairs so well with lentils, and chili flakes/red pepper flakes for a background hint of warmth! This combination of spices adds layers of warmth and earthiness to this delicious spicy lentil soup.
Broth: I used low sodium vegetable broth, but you’re welcome to use your favourite broth. Make sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly since some broth can be quite salty.
Tomato paste: for flavor.
Coconut milk: with its nutty-sweet flavor balances the spices and provides a thick, creamy texture.
Lemon or lime juice: the acid from the lemon juice will give tang and brightness.
Herbs: Fresh parsley or cilantro for a fresh pop of color, but I leave it optional.
Salt and pepper: Make sure to adjust the seasoning to your liking before serving.
Any spicy lentil soup leftovers?
This spicy lentil soup keeps well in the fridge for about 3-4 days and freezes beautifully. I suggest dividing the soup into single portions, cooling completely in the refrigerator over night, then transferring to the freezer.
I use this type of glass containers and they’re brilliant and they don’t get stained with use.
This hearty, filling plant-based soup pairs beautifully with crusty panini rolls, warm focaccia or golden croutons. I also love to add some fresh and vitamin-packed lettuce salad or spinach arugula salad on the side to make a balance, healthy meal.
If you love this lentil soup recipe…
Below a few of our fav family staples:
- Vegan lentil soup
- Sweet potato lentil soup
- Lentil tabbouleh
- Spicy tomato lentil soup
- Italian pasta with lentils
- Red lentil pasta recipe
- Green lentil soup
- Swiss chard lentil soup
- Carrot lentil soup
If you make this spicy lentil soup or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it.
I would love to hear from you!
Spicy Lentil Soup
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, diced (any color is fine)
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons smoked praprika
- ½ tablespoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ – ½ teaspoon chili flakes (according to your liking)
- 1 ½ cup (280 grams) green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 5 cups (1.2 litres) low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon fine salt, or according to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons parsley or cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
- Reduce the heat on low, add the garlic, the spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 1 minute.
- Add the lentils, broth (start with 4 cups and add the rest later making sure you're happy with the consistency), tomato paste, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender (25-30 minutes).
- Stir in the coconut milk and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Turn the heat off, add the lemon juice and taste to make sure you're happy with the overall flavor – you might want to adjust the seasoning with more salt, peppe or lemon juice.
- Finally, stir il the parsley, and serve the spicy lentil soup with crusty bread. Enjoy!