This golden turmeric lentil soup is a warm and comforting Asian-inspired dish. Flavored with ginger, cumin, and turmeric, it’s a vegetarian and vegan soup that pairs well with crusty bread.
Love cooking with lentils? See our recommendations for some of the Best Healthy Lentil Recipes for every budget and every diet.
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Why Pair Turmeric With Lentils
I hesitate to claim this is a detox lentil soup recipe, because I don’t know that I am qualified to say that, but I love cooking with turmeric.
Turmeric has a lot of benefits. It’s often cited as being an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric is so touted for its health benefits that it’s common to take turmeric supplements as well. I just like cooking with it.
When cooking with turmeric, it’s best to use fresh turmeric and to freshly grind it. It’s not always easy to find, however and is kind of a pain to use at home.
I keep ground turmeric at home and use it in a lot of recipes, particularly Indian and Moroccan ones. You can purchase ground turmeric on Amazon here.
Why I Love Cooking With Turmeric
I love using turmeric for a variety of reasons. I started paying more attention to turmeric and how it can be used while living in Bali. There’s a traditional Balinese beverage called jamu, which is sold all over the island.
The Balinese not only use turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties but as a general cure-all. We drank it regularly, but always drank a special jamu when we suffered from “Bali Belly.”
Jamu is made from a variety of spices, the most dominant being freshly grated turmeric. You can always tell when a woman has been making jamu because her fingers end up bright yellow in color.
Now, I add it to some of my Indian recipes. The turmeric is what really makes this a golden lentil soup.
Check out our other recipes with turmeric:
Cooking With Red Lentils
A red lentil soup with turmeric also means a great colorful lentil soup.
When choosing which lentils to cook with, there are always options. Brown and green lentils sometimes take a little longer to cook. They tend to be more firm. I like using them for curries and salads because the lentils hold their shape better.
Red lentils, though, tend to cook quicker and tend to be a little softer when cooked. This is why they do so well in thick and creamy lentil soups.
The dried lentils don’t need to be soaked ahead of time. Although this is the case when cooking with dried beans, dried lentils don’t require soaking before cooking.
Also check out our Vegan Tortilla Lentil Soup for more uses for red lentils.
Ingredients For Lentil Soup With Turmeric
There are two things that make this a creamy lentil soup. First is coconut oil. Second is the tomato paste.
I like starting any recipe with a base of coconut oil. There is something about the fragrance of the coconut oil when cooking that I just love. Canola or any other oil would work well too. You can buy coconut oil on Amazon here.
At the end, the tomato paste adds a needed acidity but also thickens the soup. Together, the coconut oil and the tomato paste provide a creamy base for this easy lentil soup.
Seasoning And Spices
Seasonings for the turmeric lentil soup include diced onion, minced or pressed garlic, and grated ginger. I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the soup. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
I prefer using grated ginger because it also blends into the soup better than chunks or pieces. It also helps to infuse the ginger into the soup. Just use a regular cheese grater for the ginger.
Spices include ground cumin as well as ground turmeric. The cumin adds a nutty, almost earthy flavor to the soup.
Vegetables for this turmeric lentil soup include diced carrots and chopped spinach. Dice the carrots into small pieces so that they cook quickly. If they are cut too big, they will take longer to cook. You can also use shredded carrots, which cook even quicker.
The spinach is added into the end, just folded in right before the lentils are complete.
The red lentils are rinsed in cool water before using. They don’t need to be soaked because they don’t take as long to cook as beans do. When rinsing them, it’s better to use a sieve (like this one) than a colander. The lentils might sneak through the holes of a colander!
All of these ingredients are cooked in vegetable broth. Chicken broth is fine too if you are not a vegetarian.
How To Make Turmeric And Lentil Soup
This vegan lentil soup is easy to make and oh so tasty. Start by warming a medium to large-sized dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil (or olive oil) and wait until melted and warm.
Add onion, garlic, and ginger and coat in the oil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the cumin, turmeric, and salt and pepper to the mixture. Coat the spices in the olive oil to infuse the mixture with the aroma and flavor of the spices.
Add the carrot and coat in the mixture. Cook the carrot 3-5 minutes until the carrots start to sweat and soften. Don’t cheat the time on the carrots. Make sure to cook the carrots for a good few minutes. It’s important to ensure the carrots cook through when the lentils are done.
Add the lentils and coat in the mixture. Add the vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 30-35 minutes.
Stir occasionally and add additional vegetable broth if needed. When the lentils and carrots are soft but before they get mushy, add the tomato paste and stir in the chopped spinach.
Cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Serve with warm crusty bread.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 ½ cup red lentils
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups roughly chopped spinach
- Warm a medium to large sized dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil (or olive oil) and wait until melted and warm.
- Add onion, garlic, and ginger and coat in the oil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the cumin, turmeric, and salt and pepper to the mixture. Coat the spices in the olive oil to infuse the mixture with the aroma and flavor of the spices.
- Add the carrot and coat in the mixture. Cook the carrot 3-5 minutes until the carrots start to sweat.
- Add the lentils and coat in the mixture.
- Add the vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 30-35 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional vegetable broth if needed.
- When the lentils and carrots are soft but before they get mushy, add the tomato paste and stir in the chopped spinach.
- Cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 998mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 10gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.