Creamy Lentil Stew

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

Give lentil soup a refreshing twist with red, pink, or yellow varieties. After a simmer with garlic, ginger, thyme, and cinnamon, blend a third of the stew and pour it back in along with some coconut milk to to add body and richness.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into a ¼-inch dice

  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and cut into a ¼-inch dice

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 3 cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, such as Madras

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes

  • ½ cup dried red, pink, or yellow lentils

  • 1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth or water

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

  • Chopped cilantro and/or scallions, for serving

  • Poached or fried eggs, for serving (optional)

  • Plain yogurt, chopped roasted pistachios, and/or extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a small pot or large saucepan over medium heat. When foam subsides, add onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are beginning to soften but not developing any color, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger, thyme, spices, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Add tomatoes, lentils, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender and creamy, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove and discard thyme. Transfer about one-third of soup to a blender; purée until smooth. (Be careful blending the hot liquid: Remove feed cap from blender lid and cover with a kitchen towel to let steam escape; or pulse several times with an immersion blender directly in pot to partially purée.) Stir purée back into pot, with coconut milk and lemon juice. Serve with any combination of serving suggestions.

    creamy lentil stew topped with fried egg
    Christopher Testani

Cook's Notes

To make this recipe vegan, replace the butter with coconut oil or olive oil.

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