Glowing Vegan Spiced Lentil Soup

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Lentil soup topped with cilantro on a marble countertop

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free – all this and the best lentil soup we’ve had yet!

Lentils are rich in fibre, folate and at least 7 different minerals. They are a also great source of protein in a vegan diet. We love this soup as it relies mostly on pantry staples. It is so quick and easy because there aren’t many vegetables to chop (just garlic and onion—that’s it)! And it takes 15 minutes of prep time (that includes getting the ingredients out), and then it’s hands off while it cooks. Talk about simple! While this soup contains a lot of spices, it’s not what we would call “spicy” or “hot”. If you do want a kick of heat feel free to add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Also, feel free to change up the baby spinach for other autumn greens like stemmed kale or chard. (For this recipe we used chopped cauliflower and added it halfway through cooking the lentils).


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (280 grams) diced onion (1 medium/large)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can full-fat coconut milk (full-fat is greatly preferred for its richness)
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) uncooked red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste  (this was bumped up from the original 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, to taste (for a kick of heat)!
  • 1 (5-ounce/140-gram) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • Optional – Add Cilantro as a cooling garnish to balance the heat.


  1. In a large pot, add the oil, onion, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt, stir, and sauté over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion softens.
  2. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, salt, and plenty of pepper. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne, if desired, to taste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, for about 18 to 22 minutes, until the lentils are fluffy and tender.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted. Add the lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle your lentil soup into bowls and serve with toasted bread and lime wedges.


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