Easy Red Lentil Dal Soup

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by Sil Pancho

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01.12.2022


This comforting dal soup is made with hearty red lentils, Indian spices, and creamy coconut milk. It’s easy to make and hearty enough for a meal! Vegan and gluten-free!

Two bowls of Dal Soup on a wooden surface with fresh cilantro and naan.

Is there anything better than a bit bowl of hearty soup? You know what I mean…soup that you can have as a meal by itself, or maybe just paired up with some salad or good bread?

Personally, soup is my favorite type of meal, especially during the colder months of the year.

Lately, this Indian dal soup is in heavy rotation in my house. It’s a meal in and of itself! Red lentils are always satisfying, whether you’re putting them into a hearty stew or delicious red lentil soup.

This soup is also easy enough for a weeknight, and makes for great leftovers (so we get several lunches or diners out of one batch!). It’s made from ingredients that I tend to have on hand most of the time — almost all of which are pantry staples!

Let’s talk about how this delicious Indian lentil soup comes together!

Jump to:

What You’ll Need

  • Canola oil. Feel free to substitute any high-heat oil, such as coconut, avocado, or vegetable oil.
  • Onion.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Spices. We’re using garam masala, cumin seeds, and turmeric. If you absolutely insist, you can substitute ground cumin for seeds, but I highly recommend using the seeds for the best flavor and a little bit of texture. You can also include a bit of cayenne pepper if you prefer your dal soup on the spicy side.
  • Split red lentils. Make sure your lentils are split. Whole lentils will take longer to cook and will have a different texture.
  • Vegetable broth. I used Better Than Bouillon in seasoned vegetable flavor.
  • Coconut milk. Make sure you’re using canned coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage, sold in cartons). I recommend going with full-fat, but you can use light if you’re trying to cut back on calories and/or fat.
  • Canned diced tomatoes.
  • Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice for the best flavor.
  • Fresh cilantro. Feel free to leave this out or substitute scallions if you’re not a fan of cilantro.

How to Make Dal Soup

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Heat up your oil in a large pot, then add diced onion. Sweat the onion for a few minutes, until it starts to soften up, then stir in the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook everything together very briefly, just until it becomes fragrant. Be careful: cooking this mixture too long can burn your spices and aromoatics, which can make your soup taste bitter.
  • Stir in your broth and red lentils. Bring the soup up to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are very soft.
Collage Showing first two steps for making Dal Soup.
  • Bring the soup up to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and tomatoes. Let the soup continue simmering for about 5 minutes more. By now the lentils should be mostly broken down, giving your soup a thick, almost creamy texture.
Collage showing steps 3 and 4 for making Dal Soup.
  • Take the pot off of the burner and stir in some fresh lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve your Indian lentil soup with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Pot of Dal Soup with a wooden spoon.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover red lentil dal soup will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this soup gluten-free?

It is!

Can I substitute another variety of lentil?

You can, but your soup will have a different flavor and texture. Red lentils cook up super soft, until they’re basically falling apart, whereas many other varieties like green and brown stay in tact and won’t give you a soup that’s as thick and creamy. They also take longer to cook and may require additional liquid.

How is dal soup served?

It’s great on it’s own, or paired up with a salad, some basmati rice, or homemade vegan naan.

Two bowls of Dal Soup with Spoon, cilantro, and naan in the background.

More Indian-Inspired Vegan Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter. And please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you make it!

Bowl of Dal Soup Topped with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

Easy Red Lentil Dal Soup

This comforting dal soup is made with hearty red lentils, Indian spices, and creamy coconut milk. It’s easy to make and hearty enough for a meal!

Ingredients

  • 1
    tablespoon
    canola oil
  • 1
    medium onion,
    diced
  • 4
    garlic cloves,
    minced
  • 2
    teaspoons
    freshly grated ginger
  • 2
    teaspoons
    garam masala
  • 1
    teaspoon
    cumin seeds
  • ½
    teaspoon
    ground turmeric
  • Pinch
    cayenne pepper,
    optional (or to taste)
  • 2
    cups
    dried split red lentils
  • 6
    cups
    vegetable broth
  • 1
    cup
    full-fat coconut milk
  • 1
    (14 ounce or 400 gram) can
    diced tomatoes
  • 2
    tablespoons
    lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper,
    to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro,
    for topping

Instructions

  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place it over medium heat.

  2. Give the oil a minute to heat up, the add the onion. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, until it becomes soft and translucent.

  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin seeds, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook everything for about 1 minute, until the mixture becomes very fragrant.

  4. Stir in the lentils and broth. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

  5. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are very soft.

  6. Stir in the coconut milk and tomatoes. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes, until the soup is very thick and the lentils have fallen apart.

  7. Remove the pot from the burner and stir in the lemon juice. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Ladle into bowls and top with fresh cilantro. Serve.

Nutrition Facts

Easy Red Lentil Dal Soup

Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups)

Calories 292
Calories from Fat 50

% Daily Value*

Fat 5.5g8%

Saturated Fat 2.2g11%

Sodium 776mg32%

Potassium 1002mg29%

Carbohydrates 44.9g15%

Fiber 20.8g83%

Sugar 4.5g5%

Protein 22.5g45%

Calcium 63mg6%

Iron 6mg33%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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