Recipes » Curried Lentil Cauliflower Soup

Curried Lentil Cauliflower Soup

This vegan Curried Lentil Cauliflower Soup is packed with cauliflower, potatoes, and spinach with creamy coconut milk added as a finish. Truly a full meal in a bowl!

Bowl of curried lentil cauliflower soup on a black background. visible in bowl is a coconut curry broth with spinach, potatoes, lentils and cauliflower.

Why I Developed This Recipe

Lentil soup is a vegan staple, and for good reason. It is delicious, uses inexpensive ingredients, and is filling. Sometimes, though, I am looking for something a bit different, a bit *more*. That is what this recipe is. Lentil soup with a bit *more*.

To pack in extra flavor, I built a broth based on caramelized tomato paste, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and coconut milk. And to round things out, I added potatoes and veggies. This soup is a full meal in a bowl, and deeply satisfying on its own, however, naan or pita would be great additions

If you are looking for an Instant Pot soup recipe for busy nights, try my Cauliflower White Bean Soup with Carrot and Parsnip.

Ingredients

  • Yellow Onion, Garlic, and Fresh Ginger – These will form the aromatic portion of our saute.
  • Tomato Paste, Curry Powder, and Cayenne Pepper – These additions build the next layer of flavor.
  • Salt – I do add salt to my food, however, my recipes generally do not include a specific amount in the ingredients. Differences in the type of salt you choose, and also whether your ingredients are low sodium or no sodium can significantly affect the taste of the final product. Please adjust salt to your taste and in accordance with your dietary needs.
  • Vegetable Broth and Water – Commercial vegetable broth has differing amounts of added salt and oil. Read the ingredients to choose one that is right for your needs, and remember to adjust the salt in this recipe accordingly.
  • Brown Lentils – There are many varieties of lentils, the ones we want here are the garden-variety brown lentils that you can find in bags at the grocery store.
  • Carrots, Gold Potatoes, and Cauliflower – Make sure to cut these into bite-sized pieces.
  • Coconut Milk – The final layer of flavor, coconut milk also adds a creamy texture to this soup.
  • Spinach – I have used regular spinach, but baby spinach would also work here.

Method

Start by caramelizing the onions using an oil-free dry saute/water saute method. To do this, pre-heat a soup pot over medium heat for about one minute. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and do not stir until they begin browning around the edges. Lower your heat if they look like they are starting to burn. Once they begin to brown, you can stir, adding water one tablespoon at a time, as needed, and continue to saute until onions are soft.

image of browned, dry-sauteed onions in bottom of pot with a wooden spoon

Next, add the garlic and ginger, and cook for one minute more, being careful not to burn. When they become fragrant, reduce heat to low, add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until heated through and beginning to caramelize. It’s ok if it sticks to the bottom of the pan, but if it starts to scorch, add a tablespoon of water.

Add the curry powder, cayenne pepper, and salt (to taste); cook for about one minute more.

image of caramelized tomato paste and curry powder in pot with wooden spoon

Add the broth and water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure that the tomato paste mixture combines with the broth. Bring to a boil, covered, over high heat.

Once boiling, add the lentils, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

some ingredients for curried lentil cauliflower soup. pictured are chopped cauliflower, carrots and yellow potatoes, and brown lentils in a measuring cup.

Once the lentils and vegetables are tender, stir in the coconut milk and spinach. Cook for 5 minutes more, until heated through, and the flavors have combined.

pot of curried lentil cauliflower soup with spinach added and not yet wilted

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute red lentils?

Red lentils would not be a good substitute for this soup as they break down during cooking to a thick texture, which is not what we are looking for in this recipe.

Do I need to soak brown lentils?

Generally, lentils do not benefit from a soak, as they cook quite fast without one.

Are curry powder and garam masala the same?

No, curry powder and garam masala are two different spice blends. This recipe calls for curry powder.

Are all brands of curry powder the same?

Curry powder is a blend of spices, and each brand will be slightly different in flavor. Any brand will work in this recipe.

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Curried Lentil Cauliflower Soup

a blue bowl containing Lentil Cauliflower Soup sits on a white tablecloth. visible in the bowl is curry-coconut broth, spinach, potatoes, cauliflower and lentils.

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This vegan Lentil Cauliflower Soup features coconut milk, cauliflower, potatoes, and spinach, for a delicious and creamy dish!

  • Author: Jennifer @ Always Add Alliums
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups, 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Saute, Boil
  • Cuisine: Indian-Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-inch knob Ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, omit if desired
  • Salt to taste, remember to use less if your vegetable broth is salted
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth, check the label for added salt or oil
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Brown Lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium Carrot, diced
  • 3 cups Gold Potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3 medium potatoes)
  • 3 cups Cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1/2 medium head)
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk, stirred if separated
  • 4 ounces Spinach, chopped

Instructions

For the Saute:

  1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and DO NOT STIR until the onions begin to brown around the edges, about 2 minutes.  If they begin to burn, lower the heat and add 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Stir the onions and add water 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, sauteing until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  4. Turn heat to low and add tomato paste, stirring constantly until just starting to caramelize, about 2 minutes. It’s ok if it sticks to the bottom of the pot, but if it starts to scorch, add 1 tablespoon water.
  5. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper (if using), and salt (to taste). Saute 1 minute more, until combined.

For the Soup

  1. Add broth and water, stirring to scrape tomato paste mixture off of bottom of pot. Cover and raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add lentils, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. 
  3. When lentils and vegetables are tender, add coconut milk and spinach, stirring well. Cook until spinach is wilted and flavors have melded, about 5 minutes more.

Notes

For detailed instructions, see the Method section of the above post.

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