Slow-Cooker Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

There’s a droopy apple tree in our backyard, branches bare to the elements save for a dozen or so brown apples hanging on for dear life.

The other day I watched from the kitchen window as my boys walked down to the frozen lake with their hockey sticks over their shoulders. My eldest paused for a moment under the tree, raised his stick and whacked one of the frosty fruits out onto the ice. Then they skidded after it in their clunky winter boots, lowered their hockey sticks and began passing the apple back and forth between them.

I had to smile at the scene: the frozen, wrinkled apple bouncing across the ice and the nonchalance of the young hockey players with their makeshift puck.

My heart smiled too, at the significance of the moment: brothers together, creative play, unparalleled outdoor fun with a whole lake at their disposal. This sort of effortless play was part of the Dream, and by ‘effortless’ I mean good old fashioned fresh air adventures that don’t require us driving somewhere, slave to a schedule/opening hours, paying for entrance fees/uniforms/gas or whathaveyou.

I had wanted a home where the backyard would beckon to the children, full of potential fun as long as they took the first steps. So far that part seems to be unfolding: apple tree, frozen lake, hockey games and all.

Later, when the boys trooped into the house with crimson cheeks, damp hair and rumbling bellies, I ladled steaming red lentil soup into bowls and set it down on the table for them.

Last January I was carb-hungry, embracing deep pots of pasta to fuel our winter sports and, in retrospect, my borderline depression. This year in Halifax, deep winter doesn’t seem to exist; instead we have intensely windy days, where the snow whirls in every which way except down. It’s soup weather, through and through.

Slow-Cooker Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

I tend to make two types of lentil soup – both of them come together by feel, plying around with the ingredients I have on hand. The first, and my children’s favourite, is a riff off this basic French Lentil Soup with Bacon. It made with du Puy lentils, sweet carrots, dried thyme and a bit of bacon to round out the flavour.

The French lentil is a hearty soup, and a recipe that I often double or triple because it freezes so well. Think European flavours when building and garnishing this soup; simmer it with herbes de Provence, bulk it up with cubed ham or kielbasa , and finish it with a grating of Parmesan cheese and crispy pancetta. It’s very versatile, as you can see.

My second go-to lentil soup, and my personal favourite, uses red lentils and leans toward warm Indian flavours: curry, ginger, cumin, coconut milk and cilantro. It’s mild enough for the kids, yet served up with a pungent yogurt-ginger sauce to give it a little kick.

Slow-cooker coconut curry red lentil soup is another easily adaptable recipe, designed to get a hearty, nourishing meal on the table with minimal effort.

I’ve developed this comforting soup to be a 100% dump-and-go type of slow cooker recipe. The active time is as little as five minutes, if you have your ingredients within reach. Of course as with most slow cooker recipes, you can also simmer this soup on the stovetop for a relatively quick meal . Cooking time as about 30-40 minutes and the result is slightly thicker, like a dal, because some of the liquid evaporated during the cooking time.

I recommend simmering a vegetable broth in advance of making this soup as it really rounds out the flavour. I’ve made it with water, and that’s okay in a pinch, but the soup does feel a little thin. If you do make a stock from scratch, toss a little ginger root in as well as the stems from the cilantro and this will boost the flavour tremendously.

The split red lentils from my friends at Eat Grain are the best I’ve found and I start getting nervous when my supplies run short! I like knowing that they come from Saskatchewan, not that far from my mother’s childhood farm.

Because I’m always trying to fit more vegetables in our diet, today’s soup has roasted, mashed sweet potato in the mix. This is the perfect way to use up that last little bit of purée from dinner. Any mashed up winter squash will do, as will cooked carrots or canned pumpkin. Not only does a bit of squash bring a depth of flavour to the soup, it also helps to thicken it up to a nice, spoonable consistency.

You can also bump up the vegetables even more by stirring in a handful of baby spinach and a punch of salt into a hot bowl of soup. And should you want to ladle this over brown rice pilaf and top it with a fried egg and a shot of hot sauce, well, I highly recommend that, too.

Stay warm this winter, friends. Simmer or slow cook a big batch of curried red lentil soup and stay nourished, too. Don’t forget to include the kids in the kitchen; they can make the crackers to go with the soup.

Slow-Cooker Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

A comforting and nourishing soup that is delicious in any season.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: Lentils
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1 1/2 cups split red lentils
  • 2 French shallots peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 inch ginger root peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato or pumpkin
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 oz can)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • chopped cilantro to garnish


  • Pour the lentils into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cool running water until the water draining is no longer cloudy. Dump the lentils into a slow cooker.
  • Finely chop the shallots; mince or grate the garlic. And them both to the lentils. Using a microplane, grate the ginger into a fragrant heap of pulp and juice. Reserve 1 teaspoon of this to stir into the yogurt topping; add the rest to the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle in the cumin and the curry powder; dump in the sweet potato puree and give everything a stir.
  • Shake the coconut milk well, then open the can and pour it over the soup ingredients. Finish by adding the vegetable stock and give the pot a final stir. Cover with a lid and set to High for 5 hours. Easy, right?
  • Just before serving, stir in the salt and the lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste; it may be necessary to add more salt.
  • Stir together the yogurt and the reserved grated ginger. Serve alongside the lentil soup, adding a dollop to the top of the bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro, toasted coconut flakes or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired


Note that slow cookers may vary, so if you find that yours tends to cook meals faster than usual, begin checking to the soup around 4 hours. You are looking for a tender lentil in a fragrant broth.


Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 1049mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3515IU | Vitamin C: 5.6mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 6.2mg
About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. This looks perfect – yummy, easy, filling, flavorable, with many ways to enjoy it. It’s so good to have you back. And man, your backyard is a dream!! I’m so happy for you.

    • Thanks for reading! It’s so nice to BE back. And yes, I know we’re so blessed. It took a while, but everything was worth the journey.

  2. This looks so good today! Wondering where in Saskatchewan your mom is from? My dad grew up there. His dad was from North Dakota when they were paying people to come and homestead. My husband and I (from Portland OR) Visited about 12 years ago and I was so intrigued by all the homesteads still standing abandoned in the middle of wheat fields. I went and explored a couple. We have a book of a bunch of the different families that homesteaded there. My dad attended Kea school a one room school house. Love the history there!

    • Hey Joy!
      My mother was born in Melfort, SK. The family farm is there; my grandmother was the community school teacher for years.

      I’d love to go back and explore one day!

  3. I made this yesterday and it was a hit. Absolutely delicious. The kids loved it (well, two of them loved it – not my terrible-two, which is normal). I served it with basmati rice and naans. And the yogourt mixes with ginger is a great idea. Merci ! Salutations de Montréal.

  4. 5 stars
    I love your recipes, but I never comment them. Now, I have to… I made this yesterday and it was a hit. Absolutely delicious. The kids loved it (well, two of them loved it – not my terrible-two, which is normal). I served it with basmati rice and naans. And the yogourt mixed with ginger is a great idea. Merci ! Salutations de Montréal.

  5. In your scone recipe, what kind of heavy cream do you use: 35% or would you use a double cream?

  6. 5 stars
    Making this for the fourth time tonight! This is so incredibly good!

  7. This was delicious over rice!! I have been looking for a simple, tasty curry recipe for a long time and this hit the spot! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Made this delicious soup today. It is an easy throw together and pop in the slow cooker. Great Recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    Making this soup again tonight for lunches and leftovers this week. I’ve made it many times since the recipe was published, and shared the blog post link with friends and family too. It is tasty, comforting, nutritious, and very cost-effective to make! Perfect in my books 🙂

  10. This was delicious! I faced a learning curve when trying grate the fresh ginger (microplane did not work well for me), but once I got out my food processor it was smooth sailing! I would recommended that for the shallots and garlic, too. The yogurt with ginger is delicious, and I just used canned pumpkin so overall this was a relatively easy recipe. I would count on 30 minutes prep time 🙂. My kids and husband loved it and it’s very filling. Thanks Aimee!

  11. Love this recipe! Question: Can you cook it on low for 8-10 hours? Wondering how to alter the recipe when I need to be gone all day and have dinner ready when I get home! Thanks!

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