Spiced carrot and lentil soup with protein-packed red lentils is filled with warming spices, the aromatics ginger, and garlic and is amazingly satisfying.
Soup is my favorite foodie friend. It’s the friend that brings comfort and nourishes your body and soul. I discovered soups’ superpower years ago when I was pursuing the silver bullet of dieting (spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist). Strategically convenient, healthy soups can help keep you on track if you aspire to healthy eating.
I’m not talking about those so-called ‘weight loss’ soups or anything that suggests losing belly fat. Give me a break. That isn’t going to happen. If anyone tells you that eating soup helps you lose weight, your first question should always be – 'Soup? What kind of soup?'. Let’s face it, the world of soup is as big as, well, the world.
There's a place in my heart for 'brothy' soups, live fava bean. They are so refreshing when I'm feeling parched, ideally after a hard workout (insert giggle here). But when I want a meal with soup in the title, I look toward the healthy, creamy kinds.
Building creamy, thick soups that are extraordinarily healthy is simple. There are certain veggies, like potatoes, that will do the job, as well as other favorites like corn tortillas. But by far, the one I reach for most often are red lentils.
Red lentils especially split red lentils, are a soup cook's dream. They are packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients, cook up in about 15 minutes and lend a nutty, sweet flavor. What’s not to love here?
Red lentils have resided on top of my kitchen staples list for years. Carrots? Not so much. I use them a lot, I use them in soups a lot, but I rarely think of them as the foundational ingredient.
Another norm busted.
We’re gonna use a lot of carrots in this soup. Fear not. You won’t turn orange or start every conversation with 'what's up Doc?' What you do get from the 8-10 carrots in this 4-serving soup recipe are bushels of beta carotene, more fiber, immune-supporting antioxidants, and a whole lotta healthy sweetness.
Should you peel carrots?
Good question! Carrot peelings contain a lot of the plant nutrition – that’s a good excuse not to peel. Some people find the peelings bitter, but that can be somewhat mitigated by scrubbing the carrots like you would a potato.
I’ve made this spicy carrot soup with both peeled and unpeeled carrots and didn’t notice much of a difference in that flavor. That’s likely because there is so much flavor added by the cumin and mustard seeds, chili flakes, ginger, garlic, and onions.
Leaving the decision to peel or not to peel up to you, if you have a food processor with a grater blade, this soup is ready in about 30 minutes from start-prep to table.
1. This recipe goes quickly, so be sure you have everything prepped before you heat the soup pot. If not, you will risk burning the toasted spices or getting the onions and garlic too dark and bitter.
2. When you toast the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and red chili flakes, you can scoop out half of them with a spoon and reserve them as a garnish. Either way, you’ll be getting all those spices, so don’t fret if you forget this step.
3. Don’t overcook the onions, garlic, and ginger. If they start getting dark or sticking to the bottom, add the vegetable broth.
4. Once you’ve added the carrots and lentils, bring the pot to a boil and then immediately low the heat to a slow simmer. Then, add the plant-milk. This keeps it from scorching.
5. If you don’t have 4 cups of vegetable broth, you can use veggie cubes and water to get the same flavor.
The lentils and carrots should be done in about 15 minutes. If you use whole red lentils, you will want to allow for an extra 10 minutes for cooking. At this point, you are ready to puree the soup for the ultimate creamy mouthfeel. You might also decide to leave it with a bit of texture. I personally prefer the creamy kind, but it’s an option.
If you are inclined to not blend the soup, you might prefer dicing rather than grating the carrots. Be sure you cube them tiny, so they get soft along with the lentils. This is also a trick to avoid your hand grater.
When your soup is done, garnish it with the reserved toasted spice. Chopped cilantro or parsley is a tasty addition if you like. A few lemon wedges add a bit of zest and refreshment.
My best advice for this soup recipe is to make a double batch. It keeps in the fridge for 5 days and is something healthy you can reach for when hunger strikes or lunch is needed stat. It’s a friend you can count to walk in and chase out all the unsettling stuff. Peace.Print
Spiced carrot and lentil soup with protein-packed red lentils is filled with warming spices for an amazingly satisfying vegan meal.
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tsp. mustard seeds (yellow, black, or a combination)
- 1 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
- 8-10 medium carrots, peeled or scrubbed and grated
- ¾ cup of split red lentils (or whole red lentils)
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- ½ cup of plant milk
- Heat a medium soup pot to medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and red chili flakes. Toast the spices for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Scoop out half of the spices to reserve as a garnish if desired.
- Add the onions and allow them to soften for about 3 minutes. If they begin to stick, add a tablespoon of water or broth.
- Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the carrots, lentils, and vegetable broth. Bring the pot to a rolling boil, then lower it to simmer.
- Add the plant milk.
- Simmer the soup for 15 minutes until the lentils are tender and start to break down. You can leave the pot uncovered or cover with a lid leaving a space for the steam to escape.
- Once the lentils are cooked, remove the soup from the heat. Puree the soup using an immersion blender or transfer it to a blend, a few batches at a time, and blend until smooth.
- Garnish with the reserved, toasted spices.
- If you use whole red lentils, allow an extra 10 minutes of cooking time for them to get tender.
- You will get extra nutritional value if you leave the carrots unpeeled. If you opt to do that, be sure to carefully scrub them. Likewise, you can small dice the carrots rather than grate them. Be sure you keep them small, so they thoroughly cook.
- Category: Soups & Stews
- Cuisine: plant-based
Keywords: spiced carrot and lentil soup