Make Ahead

Curried Red Lentil Zucchini Soup

August 19, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves about 4
Author Notes

So many good things in one dish, and oh-so-simple to make. If you're a curry fan, a soup person, or a lentil lover (or all of the above), then this sure is the soup for you. —Colleen Stem

Test Kitchen Notes

Very good, quick, and super easy. The curry flavor is subtle and works perfectly with the lentils. This is a soup whose flavor develops the longer it sits, and it was even better after about an hour on the stove. Plan on getting an extra zucchini to account for the sliced zucchini you add at the end (I think the soup needs it)—and you could add some other vegetables to make it feel even heartier. I would add cauliflower and possibly summer squash along with the zucchini. Also, it's important to season after the lentils are cooked, as the water subdues some flavors. I will definitely make it again! —figgypudding

What You'll Need
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder* (depending on your curry preference)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups water (and more as needed)
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils
  1. *Use a pre-blended curry powder, or make your own. I use a combination of equal(ish) parts cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and ground mustard. And I tend to go heavy on the cumin and turmeric… But do whatever you like.
  2. Chop up the veggies and toss into a big pot with the curry powder, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and about a cup of water. Stick on a burner over medium heat and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes, making sure that the water never fully evaporates (just add more if needed) and conitunue to cook the veggies until they are all soft and tender.
  3. Remove from heat and completely submerge the veggies with water (if they aren't already submerged). Now, either with a hand blender or a regular blender, purée the veggies until smooth.
  4. Place purée back into the pot and add in the red lentils and another 2 cups of water. Bring the soup back to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Cover and let the lentils cook through completely. The soup is done when the lentils are cooked through and you are ready to eat. And if you think that the soup is too thick, add more water; if it's too thin, cook down for little longer.
  5. Scoop soup into bowls or cups, add a few thinly sliced pieces of zucchini on top with lots of freshly ground pepper (if you want), and enjoy with a smile and maybe a spoon.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Doug
  • Caroline Lange
    Caroline Lange
  • Kris
  • Bugis

7 Reviews

Bugis July 3, 2022
I made this recipe as written and did not find it boring the way other reviewers did. I suspect that because the recipe calls for a pre-blended curry powder as the main seasoning (besides salt and black pepper) that the outcome can vary wildly based on what curry powder you use. I used two tablespoons of Bolst’s Hot Curry Powder which contains Coriander, Turmeric, Chillies, Mustard, Ginger, Cumin, and Fenugreek. Once I seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper I had something very flavourful. All four members of our household enjoyed it and said they would be happy to eat it again.
Doug February 28, 2021
Tried this easy soup tonight and found it nicely balanced and filling. I added a clove of garlic crushed, and 1T of olive oil. Served with warmed pita bread and carrot sticks.
Thanks for the easy meal.
Jana E. May 24, 2016
I love this soup - not just for its flavor, but also because it's extremely low calorie by virtue of having no olive oil or broth. I did hit it with some extra cayenne pepper, the juice of two lemons, and a very healthy dose of salt. I split it into 6 servings and top it with a bit of Greek yogurt. Makes for a very satisfying lunch.
Caroline L. September 15, 2015
i made this soup and added an extra shake of cumin, a sizable drizzle of coconut oil, and some cayenne—yum. super warming, and good with a scoop of yogurt on top.
Nathalie S. September 11, 2015
Just made this soup: was excited to see a soup with plain water as the liquid since I don't always have stock on hand. Hmmmmm, this soup is extremely bland. A good broth may have helped it along a bit more. To make it palatable, I added a fair bit of salt, extra cumin, coriander and garam masala as well as a big fat garlic clove. It was still just ok. I then added 1 small can of coconut milk, the juice of 2 limes and a big handful of fresh cilantro. Now it's good but an entirely different soup.
Kris October 9, 2015
I would sauté a jalapeno (or two) and some minced ginger or garlic and add it to the soup. I would also saute the onion and vegetables rather than boiling. It usually releases more flavour. But it becomes more of a red lentil daal preparation converted into soup
Jana E. May 24, 2016
I love the idea of adding ginger! Will try that next time.