Vegan Red Curry Lentil Soup With Kale

Vegan Red Curry Lentil Soup
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Total Time: 50 min
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Servings: 6 (1 3/4 cups each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

232 calories
8g fat
31g carbs
12g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 (1 3/4 cups each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 232
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 452mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 7g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 12g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 852mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

This easy vegan lentil and kale soup is packed with rich flavor from red curry paste and coconut milk, which give an otherwise simple lentil soup a unique Southeast Asian spin. Flavorful, but not overpowering or too spicy, the whole family can enjoy it.

Did you know vegan, vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian diets have been shown to help lower hemoglobin A1C? Studies have suggested these plant-based diets are associated with improved glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

Cutting out or cutting back on meat may be intimidating for people with diabetes, as a plant-based diet limits protein options and tends to be higher in carbohydrates. However, eating more meatless meals will nudge you to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, foods that are associated with improved glycemic control. Plus, when carbohydrate comes in a fiber and nutrient-rich, unprocessed form, it can help stabilize blood sugar rather than spiking it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 14-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup lentils, any color or mixture
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup reduced fat coconut milk

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, garlic, and carrots. Saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in red curry paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Pour in diced tomatoes, lentils, broth, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then add kale. Cover soup, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender.

  4. Remove lid and stir in coconut milk. Heat through for 2 to 3 minutes then serve hot.

Variations and Substitutions

To find red curry paste, look in the Asian food aisle of your local grocery store. If you can’t find it, feel free to swap green or yellow curry paste, or use a teaspoon of curry powder. Canned coconut milk is often found in the Asian food aisle as well.

If you prefer meat in your meals, you could easily bump up the protein content with a little bit of ground turkey. Add 8 to 12 ounces of ground turkey after sauteing the vegetables along with the red curry paste, then cook until the meat is browned. If you’d like to add more protein while still keeping your meal meatless, stir in cubes of seasoned baked tofu at the end of cooking.

This soup is a tasty way to up your intake of green leafy vegetables. The recipe calls for kale, but you could also use spinach, chard, or collard greens. The greens are rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids that may help protect against certain eye conditions common among those with diabetes.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • This recipe is easy to freeze, so consider doubling the ingredients and cooking an extra batch. Store individual servings of soup in a plastic or glass container in the freezer and defrost for an easy dinner after a long day at work, or bring a few into the office for a homemade frozer meal.
  • If you have higher carbohydrate needs, serve this soup with another carbohydrate source. Try half a baked sweet potato or fruit salad—mango drizzled with lime juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes is refreshingly sweet and tart to counterbalance the rich soup.
  • If you eat less carbohydrate, serve this soup with a simple side salad topped with toasted cashews and a vinaigrette.

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Article Sources
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  1. Yokoyama Y, Barnard ND, Levin SM, Watanabe M. Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysisCardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2014;4(5):373-382. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2014.10.04

  2. Fathalipour M, Fathalipour H, Safa O, Nowrouzi-Sohrabi P, Mirkhani H, Hassanipour S. The therapeutic role of carotenoids in diabetic retinopathy: A systematic review. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2020;13:2347-2358. Published 2020 Jul 3. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S255783