Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup 1

I’ve had an old pickle jar full of red lentils sitting on top of my fridge and doing nothing other than looking pretty for far too long. (Don’t judge – those barrel-shaped jars are great for storing things like lentils and dry beans. Yay recycling!)

I’ve also wanted to make carrot soup for, oh, about two years. Shawn wasn’t thrilled with the idea though, so I never got around to it.

Now that the days are a tad cooler, it seemed like the perfect time to bring the two ideas together. I made a big pot of this soup one Sunday and ate it for lunch all week. Shawn didn’t want any part of it – too bad, because he doesn’t know what he was missing out on.

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup 2

This soup is perfect for nippy fall days and it makes me look forward to pulling on wool socks and curling up with a book in front of the fireplace.  It’s rich, warm, and incredibly comforting, but won’t leave you feeling weighed down.

Leeks and carrots give this soup a subtle sweetness and red lentils, which cook down to thicken the soup and give it an earthy, nutty flavor. With base ingredients like these, it’s so easy to immediately reach for the curry powder or cumin. I didn’t want to do that, and did everything I could think of to avoid reaching for those jars. Instead, I used lots of freshly grated ginger and lime juice to keep the flavor bright. Coconut milk ties everything together and makes the final soup rich and luxurious. Top it off with a few spice encrusted shrimp for a real treat or just eat the soup plain – either way, it’s delicious.

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup 3

Carrot & Red Lentil Soup

Carrot & Red Lentil Soup

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


For the soup:

  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Leek, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 5 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup Red Lentils, rinsed
  • 6 cups Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk

For the Shrimp:

  • 8 Large Shrimp (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • Pinch Cayenne (optional)
  • Fresh Cilantro, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, garlic, and ginger and cook 4-5 minutes to soften the onion. Stir int the tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add the carrots, lentils, water, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Discard bay leaf and stir in lime juice.
  2. While the soup simmers, prepare the shrimp: combine the olive oil, water, coriander, ginger, paprika, and cayenne to for a thick paste (thin with additional water if necessary). Coast the shrimp with the spice paste. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and set over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the shrimp. Cook 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove from heat.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth. Return to pot an stir in coconut milk.  Add salt to taste.
  4. Divide soup between four bowls. Top with shrimp and cilantro. Id desired, drizzle additional coconut milk on top.
Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 262Total Fat 2gSodium 51mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 19gSugar 4gProtein 18g

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By on September 16th, 2012

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

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10 thoughts on “Carrot and Red Lentil Soup”

  1. Oh, dear. I found this soup to be thin and very bland. Thinking it was because I didn’t use the shrimp, I toasted and added cumin and coriander along with salt, crushed red pepper and regular pepper. Still not impressed. I’m going to try to punch it up with curry powder and more ginger.

  2. This soup was delicious! I did use chicken stock in place of the water and added a tiny bit of cayenne pepper for a little kick. I also seasoned the veggies with salt and pepper as they were cooking before adding the liquid. I used 4 garlic cloves instead of two, bc I love garlic! Great recipe, Thanks!

  3. We made this tonight, and I feel like we are missing something. It is incredibly bland. All of the vegetables that go in are beautiful, but flavor is missing. Perhaps using a vegetable broth base would have been helpful? I had thought to double this recipe but was so glad we did not.

    Any suggestions from others?

    • I agree – unfortunately I’m locked into a contract with my mobile ad provider. Things should be much, much better in a month or so when that expires!

  4. Absolutely convinced that coconut milk or cream is such a fabulous addition to certain vegetable soups. It adds sweetness of course, but the texture improves exponentially. Sounds great!

  5. Lauren, there’s an unfortunate typo you’ll want to fix in the last sentence before the recipe, and feel free to delete this comment.


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