Recipes > Lentil Coconut Soup

Lentil Coconut Soup


Red lentils flavored with onions, cumin, coriander, serrano pepper, coconut milk and finished with lemon and fresh cilantro. This will most definitely be a soup you make over and over again.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Views: 37,987
  • Success Rating: 83% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

Preparing Your Mise en Place
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 - 2 inch piece ginger (2 tbsp minced)
  • 1/2 red serrano pepper, or to taste, minced
  • 4 tsp whole cumin seeds*
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds*


Gather and prepare your mise en place.

*Note: If you do not like whole spices, you can use ground cumin and/or coriander, but keep in mind that you will end up with slightly different results.

Step 2: Cooking & Finishing the Soup

Cooking & Finishing the Soup
  • 2 fresh lemons (2 tbsp zest + 5 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • dried chile flakes, garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


To cook the soup, heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Toast the coriander and cumin for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until they just start to smoke and release their aroma.

Next, add the oil, followed by the onions and serrano pepper. Cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft, translucent and just starting to brown.

Next, add the ginger, lentils, stock, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover and let cook for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are totally soft and broken down. Stir occasionally to ensure the lentils are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If needed, add more water or stock until you reach your desired consistency.

Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemons. Chop the cilantro and set aside.

To finish the soup, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and cilantro. Serve into warmed bowls and top with diced avocado and more cilantro and/or chili flakes, if desired.


  • Sharbani R
    Sharbani R
    This is one of the most refreshing lentil soups I've had. It's both warm and comforting for winter months yet bright and not-too-heavy for summer. I feel happy when eating this and energetic & clear-minded after. FYI: I usually eat this kind of dish with brown rice or quinoa--and I put in a lot more chillies than the recipe calls for, but I'm a bit crazy for spice.
  • Janet V
    Janet V
    I don't know if you were supposed to crush the cumin and corriander after toasting but I did, I did not want hard chunks of spice in my soup. I also pureed it. I also served it with some brown rice and greek yogurt. I will definetly make it again.
  • Ann K
    Ann K
    I will crush the cumin and coriander next time, I did not mind the texture of the cumin seeds but the coriander was a problem. That said, I really enjoyed the flavors of the soup, I made it earlier in the day and it tasted good, when I served it in the evening it tasted even better for standing.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    While the cumin and coriander seeds are meant to be left whole for this recipe particular recipe, there is certainly nothing stopping your from crushing them. In the end, if you like it better without the whole seeds then that's what matters. I have to admit, at first I was not sure about using the whole seeds, but now I am quite used to it. I also like that it's one less step I have to do :) So glad that you both enjoyed the soup. Cheers!
  • Eric H
    Eric H
    Wow, what bold flavors, this definitely deserves a place in the 'regular rotation'! After reading your comments, I went by the recipe and left the seeds whole--I must say, I enjoyed the additional texture. I really liked the combination of coriander, coconut, and lemon. But, has anyone else found the lemon somewhat overpowering? I was thinking of just using one when next I try this dish...?
  • Meredith M
    Meredith M
    What happened to the coriander in this recipe? I've made it a few times before but I don't remember what it used to be like...this time it was a little plain without the coriander.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Sorry, about that, not sure what happened — indeed, the recipe should have 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds in it. Cheers!
  • Kathleen S
    Kathleen S
    I enjoyed everything about this soup. The whole spices really added a nice texture. The heat and the lemon were just right. They did not overwhelm the dish. It is so healthy. It is nice to make such a flavorful soup without salt. It is very important to make the soup with the Rouxbe vegetable stock. The soup is a keeper. Enjoy!
  • Mika L
    Mika L
    I have dried serrano chili on hand (or it appears to be). Is this ok to use instead of the fresh? I'm assuming if so I'd split it (or smash it slightly) and just let it sit for a period of time while cooking then remove?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Sure thing Mika, that should be just fine. Enjoy the soup — I know it's one of our favourites!
  • Ishaque K
    Ishaque K
    I made this for my mom and I, we both thought it was perfect. I had 3rd's.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Yeah, so glad to hear Ishaque — and how nice for you to cook for your mom :-) Cheers, Dawn
  • Jennifer C
    Jennifer C
    I've made this more than once and love it. Today made it but had to omit the cilantro and use light coconut milk and a green rather than red serrano- I didn't have everything on hand. It was still amazing. And super easy.
  • Miranda S
    Miranda S
    I just made it and about 90% of my lentils had cooked in the 1st 10 minutes. I have a pretty old gas stove and the heat is hard to adjust precisely so it might have been a little to high, but is there an issue with cooking this for less time at a higher heat instead of on low for 40 min? It is still very delicious!!
  • Kirk B
    Kirk B
    Hi Miranda and thanks for your comments! Bravo on your great results. Absolutely no issues with a briefer cooking time. FYI that I often cook the lentils for this dish (and others) ahead or time/separately. That way I can control the exact doneness and mouth feel that I am looking for with the lentils. I simply add them to the other ingredients when I am ready to serve - heat through and enjoy! I hope this helps and thank you for cooking with Rouxbe! Chef Kirk
  • Emily S
    Emily S
    Does it freeze well?
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Emily. Absolutely. Just reserve the citrus, cilantro and avocado for when you serve it. Lauren
  • Larry M
    Larry M
    Great recipe! I use whole spice seeds and then pop it into the blender about half way through to pulp the seeds and lentils.
  • Maryanne K
    Maryanne K
    Hello, I love this recipe, but I haven't been able to find red lentils in my current quarantine. Since I have lots of green lentils on hand, would it be possible to use those instead? If so, how should I plan to adjust the cooking?
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Maryanne. Sure you can use green lentils. Red lentils, yellow lentils and split peas all have a little shorter cooking time than green lentils. You will want to just pay attention to the texture to determine your cook time. It will take a little longer for them to be fully cooked. Let me know how it goes. Lauren
  • Maryanne K
    Maryanne K
    Thanks, Lauren - it turned out well! I definitely prefer red lentils for this recipe, but it was still very tasty. : )
  • Roger M
    Roger M
    I've made this soup once and it was delicious. However, if I soak the lentils beforehand would it cook faster?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Roger, red lentils are relatively quick-cooking, so soaking is not necessary nor particularly advantageous. However, other lentils have thicker skins and do benefit from soaking. Eric
  • Liz C
    Liz C
    This recipe was delicious. I used ground cumin and coriander at 75% of the stated amounts and swapped jalapeño for the serrano. Big thumbs up, will make again!
  • Valentina P
    Valentina P
    This is one of the most satisfying soups I've ever eaten!!! I made it twice - the first time with ground cumin and coriander, the second leaving the seeds whole after dry-toasting them. The second time it was absolutely exceptional! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe - I'm really enjoying the plant-based professional course :)
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Valentina: Thanks for writing. This is a great recipe and your approach with roasting the seeds really builds the flavor from the spices. So glad you are enjoying your days with us in the Plant-Pro Course. Rouxbe on! -Char
  • Mirna M
    Mirna M
    This is the second time I make this soup and I just love it, it is so refreshing and delicious!
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Mirna-- I agree with you, this recipe is fabulous and makes an amazing soup. Thanks for sharing with us! Cheers, Char
  • Sabine N
    Sabine N
    This is one of my favorite soups! Thank you for the amazing recipe. I never get to freeze any of it because I finish it. I am taking the basic plant based cooking course and have made it three times so far.
  • Jane S
    Jane S
    This is one of my favorite soups too. However, I’m trying to reduce fat in my diet. Is there a good substitute for the coconut milk? I was thinking a thickened soy? Ideas?
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Jane, Depending on how reduced you want the fat content to be, there are a couple of approaches I would recommend. First, since the coconut flavor is somewhat central to this particular dish, if you just want to slightly reduce the fat, look at different brands of coconut milk, as they have vastly varying fat content. Also, you could remove some of the slightly solidified cream that rises to the top of the can. To thicken, you could then use cornstarch or arrowroot. Otherwise, turning to an alternative cream, like soy or oat, could do the trick, though it would obviously lack the coconut flavor. Best of luck. Let us know what works for you! Cheers, Sandy
  • Benjamin B
    Benjamin B
    I made this for dinner today. My wife said it was one of the best things she’s ever eaten, and I tend to agree. Adding chili crisp when serving really makes the soup sing. I mashed my spices in a mortar and pestle, which worked well.

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