Red Lentil Vadouvan Coconut Soup

March 11, 2013
7 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Inexpensive red lentils are spruced up with an assortment of spices, including coriander, cumin, cayenne, and turmeric, in addition to onion, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and canned tomatoes. I like a Vadouvan curry blend for its toasted shallot, onion, and garlic notes. But, you can easily substitute your favorite Indian curry spice blend. This may look like a lot of ingredients, but the majority are spices. All and all, it's a simple and homey dish. —wildgreens

Test Kitchen Notes

wildgreens describes her soup as simple and homey, and while it certainly is simple to make, the end result is anything but! The balance of spices is perfect, elevating ordinary ingredients to new levels. The richness and complexity of the spices and coconut milk are kept in check by the brightness of the tomatoes and lime juice. I used a curry powder blend and added a touch of garam masala as I didn't have any Vadouvan spice blend, but after trying this soup I will definitely be seeking it out so that I have an excuse to make it again! —k s

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 2 tablespoons Vadouvan spice blend or Indian curry blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes with juices
  • 1 pound red lentils, washed and picked over
  • 2 quarts water, vegetable, or chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 large handfuls Swiss chard leaves, chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Cashews (toasted in a dry skillet until lightly browned), chopped
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ground cumin and coriander, curry powder, and turmeric, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices. Taste and re-season with salt as needed.
  2. Stir in the lentils and water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. Season with black pepper and cayenne to taste. Taste and adjust for salt.
  3. Add the Swiss chard, coconut milk, and lime juice, and cook until the chard is wilted and the coconut milk is heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Ladle into individual bowls. Top with chopped cilantro and toasted chopped cashews. Serve with some crusty bread.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • Alaina Cillis
    Alaina Cillis
  • AntoniaJames
  • wildgreens
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

8 Reviews

Tracey W. May 19, 2019
Made this yesterday - Love it.
Rhonda35 December 2, 2016
Excellent and different lentil soup!
Alaina C. January 21, 2016
Quite delicious! Very fresh-tasting.
Jaimie M. September 12, 2015
Followed the recipe except I used a tablespoon of cumin and coriander seed and added a jalapeño. Absolutely delicious.
AntoniaJames April 8, 2013
Made this last week. Delicious! I only had half the required tomatoes and coconut milk, so I used half the lentils called for, but left the aromatics and spices the same. And I stirred ribbons of some dark greens (Asian -- choy sum, I think) into it. Made my own vadouvan blend using aargersi's recipe from her lamb chili recipe here: . Excellent -- will definitely make this again! ;o)
wildgreens March 28, 2013
Appreciate the kind words. Just wanted to add a few places
to find Vadouvan. The Spice House in Chicago and
AntoniaJames March 28, 2013
Sounds good! Saved to my "must try soon" collection. Congrats on the CP. ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian March 13, 2013
this looks amazing!