Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes

It’s been quite a few years since I first made this lentil soup. I stumbled upon the original recipe on a snowy night and since then it’s become a winter staple. I hesitate to call this a soup only because I leave the texture thick, much more stew like. The flavors are warm and inviting without being too over the top. This recipe has also been quite the hit in the realm of baby food. I’ve been making a big batch and waiting to add the salt/cayenne until after I’ve removed a portion for Mack. Best of all? This meal is even better the second day meaning you’ve got lunch without any extra work.


Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

  • Author: Erin alderson
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 3-4


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and 1/4″ cubed (roughly 2 cups)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality curry powder
  • Pinch of cayenne, optional
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 7 ounces can whole-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (see note)

For serving

  • Cooked grains, for serving
  • Diced Scallions, for topping
  • Cilantro/Parsley, for topping
  • Toasted Coconut, for topping


  1. In a large stockpot combine lentils and vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the sweet potato, carrot, and half the ginger. Continue to simmer until sweet potato is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small skillet, add curry powder and toast until fragrant. Remove from skillet once toasted. Return skillet to stove and add coconut oil. Next, stir in remaining ginger, garlic, and raisins to skillet over medium low heat. Sautรฉ for one minute, just until the garlic is fragrant. Add tomato paste and continue to cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Finally, stir in the curry powder.
  3. Add the tomato paste mixture along with the coconut milk and salt to the lentil base. Stir and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. I served this soup more as a hearty thick stew so you may need to play with the consistency by adding more water.


– I haven’t varied too much from Heidi’s recipe but over the years I’ve tweaked the amounts, added a bit of garlic, and really fell in love with the addition of sweet potatoes. A good, mild-heat curry powder makes it (I’d shy away from an overly spicy one.)

– Because I’ve used vegetable broth in place of the water in the original recipe, I decrease the salt quite a bit (but then find I add a bit right before eating). I recommend starting on the low side, tasting, and adding more as needed.

Variations for the Red Lentil Soup

This soup is one of my favorite what I consider ‘pantry meals.’ I typically keep all the ingredients on hand and if I’m in the mood for something comforting, this soup gets made. I haven’t always kept golden raisins on hand but I do now. They plump up nicely and add small burst of sweetness throughout the soup. I’ve found myself adding them to a lot my spicy dishes.

Greens: I’ll add in spinach at the last minute for an extra pop of color and vegetables. A couple handfuls of baby spinach wilt nicely into the lentils.

Split Peas: I originally left the split peas out of this recipe because I didn’t have any on hand at the time. I fell in love with the lentil soup (and now the texture of red lentils only is great for babies). However, you lose a bit of the texture without the split peas. Check out the original recipe for instructions about these. Also, some readers have used brown/green lentils which do not soften as much as the red (and would give the soup a bit more texture).

Grains: I go through phases with the grains I have on hand. When I first started making this recipe, I loved it with brown rice. Now I find I turn to millet (if I’m looking to keep this gluten-free) or bulgur (which is nice if I’m in a hurry).

Red Lentils

Featured Ingredient: Red Lentils

Red Lentils are best in soups and stews because they don’t hold their shape as well as their brown/green counterparts.

In Masala Sauce: Red Lentil Masala with Spinach
With Harissa: Harissa Lentils with Cauliflower
Dumplings: Red Lentil Dumplings

Coconut Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes

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