Feel-Good Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup

This carrot ginger lentil soup is exactly what I want when I’m feeling a little under the weather, or even just a little blue. It’s the coziest thing to curl up with on a rainy chilly day. So prepare your pillow nest and let’s get into it.

a bowl of carrot ginger lentil soup with a side of flatbread

Hot homemade soup is always comforting. But this carrot ginger lentil soup packs an extra dose of coziness with tons of freshly grated ginger and a zingy squeeze of lime at the end.

Bonus features: It’s vegan and gluten-free, and it can be made either on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot.

What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

Red lentils: I love using red lentils here because they cook super quickly and thicken the soup like a dream
Carrots: The texture of the grated carrots in this soup is one of my favourite things about it
Onion: Because almost every great soup starts with onion, right?
Fresh ginger: Nothing beats ginger for its immune-boosting and soul-warming capabilities
Garlic: The fresher the better.
A few spices: Cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and turmeric.
Coconut milk: The only fatty component of this soup. It adds an extra creamy lusciousness
Lime: Just a squeeze at the very end takes this up a notch. Plus, vitamin C!
Salt: No explanation needed here

How to make this Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup

This actually might be the easiest soup in the world. If there is a simpler soup out there, please let me know because I want to hear about it.

  1. Chop the onion and garlic as finely as you feel like.
  2. Peel and grate the carrot and ginger. If you have a grater attachment on your food processor, your job will be even easier. I used a box grater.
  3. Put the onion, garlic, grated carrots and ginger into a Dutch oven or the insert of an Instant Pot
  4. Add the lentils, spices, coconut milk and water.
  5. If you’re using the stovetop method, bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, give the soup a good stir, then cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. If you’re using the Instant pot method, simply lock the lid into place and set the Instant Pot to the high-pressure mode for 10 minutes.
    Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!
Here’s what it looks like when it’s done

Tips for Success

These tips will help you make the best Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup:

  • Use the thickest coconut milk you can find. That means shaking the can when you’re in the store and rejecting any cans where you can hear the liquid sloshing around. (Tip courtesy of Chef Heidi Fink.)
  • Make sure your lentils are somewhat fresh. If you have a jar of red lentils at the back of your cupboard that has been there for a decade or more, you’re not alone. But there’s a good chance they’re too old and will not soften as nicely. Dried legumes have a super long shelf-life, that’s for sure, but even lentils have their limits.
  • Making a bigger batch? That’s a great idea. You can easily double this recipe and it’ll still fit into the Instant Pot. This size batch fits perfectly into my Dutch oven though.
  • Use the freshest ginger and garlic you can get your hands on. It really helps make the soup taste better, and it makes a big difference in the satisfaction you’ll get from making it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of slicing through a juicy, fresh-from-the-ground garlic clove, it’s worth seeking out!
  • Once the soup is done cooking, keep it covered but let it sit off the heat for 15-30 minutes. It helps develop the flavours a bit more—which is great because we didn’t saute the onions or toast the spices, so we need all the flavour development we can get.
  • Also in the flavour development realm—this soup is ten times better after it’s been in the fridge for a while. Enjoy all the “fridge-cooked” leftovers!
  • Don’t forget that lime juice finish. It’s a game-changer.

What goes well with this Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup?

This soup is very satisfying on its own. The lentils make it super filling. But as with most soups, I find it hard to resist a bit of bread on the side. I recently had it with my two-ingredient flatbread (the all-purpose flour and yogurt version) and it was the most perfect thing ever.

Carrot ginger lentil soup with flatbread on the side

I would also be quite happy eating it beside a grilled cheese and homemade chutney sandwich.

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Tips

This soup is great eaten right away but gets incrementally better after 1-4 days in the fridge after which it starts to decline.

To store this soup in the fridge, keep it in a sealed food container for up to 4 days.

It also freezes well as long as it is well-sealed. A glass or plastic food storage container works well. I have also been known to use freezer-safe Mason jars—just be sure to leave plenty of room in the top so it doesn’t explode.

This soup is simple to reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Lentil soup sticks and burns easily so if you’re using a pot on the stovetop, be sure to stir regularly and keep it over medium heat.

The soup will have thickened up a bit as the lentils continue absorbing the liquid. I happen to love the thicker consistency but you can thin it slightly with water if you prefer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use another kind of lentil if I don’t have red lentils?

Yes, any other lentil or split pea will work, but the cooking time will change. It will also affect the final look and texture of the soup. Red lentils are really cheap and readily available, so I recommend sticking with them.

Can I use dried ginger instead of fresh?

Yes, but it will lack a bit of the punch you get from fresh ginger. If using ground ginger, I recommend using 1 Tablespoon.

I usually blend my carrot soup with an immersion blender. Can I blend this one?

Sure, but I personally love the texture of the lentils and the grated carrots. I love blended soup as much as the next guy, but in my opinion, this one is perfect as is.

Shouldn’t I saute the onions in olive oil first to enhance the flavour?

Historically I have always started soups by sauteeing the onions and toasting the spices. This soup takes a lot of shortcuts that way, but I love the flavour so much anyway and I find it liberating to just chuck everything in at once!

Can I use vegetable broth instead of water?

Of course you can! But it’s not essential. There’s something really nice and simple about just using good ol’ plain water.

Still Hungry?

If you love my Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup recipe, you will probably love these other delicious, hearty, feel-good vegan soup recipes.

Spiced Tomato and Coconut Soup
Coconut Corn Chowder
Spring Minestrone Soup
Quick Tortilla Soup

I hope you love this soul-satisfying red lentil soup as much as I do! Be sure to tag me on Instagram @howtomakedinner if you make it! I’d love to see it.

A bowl of carrot ginger lentil soup with flatbread and a half lime on the side

Feel-Good Carrot Ginger Lentil Soup

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This carrot ginger lentil soup is exactly what I want when I’m feeling a little under the weather, or even just a little blue. It’s the coziest thing to curl up with on a rainy chilly day. So prepare your pillow nest and let’s get into it.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion (250 grams)
  • 3 large carrots (250 grams)
  • 1 cup red lentils (230 grams)
  • 1 3-inch piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 6 cups water
  • Juice of 1 lime for garnish

Instructions

    1. Chop the onion and garlic as finely as you feel like.
    2. Peel and grate the carrot and ginger. If you have a grater attachment on your food processor, your job will be even easier. I used a box grater.
    3. Put the onion, garlic, grated carrots and ginger into a Dutch oven or the insert of an Instant Pot
    4. Add the lentils, spices, coconut milk and water.
    5. If you’re using the stovetop method, bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, give the soup a good stir, then cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
    6. If you’re using the Instant pot method, simply lock the lid into place and set the Instant Pot to the high-pressure mode for 10 minutes. 
    7. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and enjoy!

Did you make this?

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