Vegan Red Curry Lentil Soup With Kale

Vegan Red Curry Lentil Soup
Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Total Time 50 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 40 min
Yield 6, 1.75 cup servings (269 cals)

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. It’s not overpowering or too spicy though, so the whole family can enjoy it, and it proves that meatless doesn’t mean rabbit food. It’s packed with unique flavor, from creamy coconut milk to a hint of Thai red curry paste.

Did you know vegan, vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian diets have been shown to help lower hemoglobin A1C? Cutting out or cutting back on meat may be intimidating to people with diabetes, as a plant-based diet limits protein options and tends to be higher in carbohydrate. 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 tablespoons 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 ½ 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
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon 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.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

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 it meatless, stir in cubes of seasoned baked tofu at the end of cooking.

I love that this soup is a tasty way to sneak in 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

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. Coconut milk is usually found in the Asian food aisle as well.

This recipe is easy to freeze, so I love to double up the ingredients and cook 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 frozen 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 a refreshing sweet and tart counterbalance with the rich soup. Or, if you eat less carbohydrate, serve this soup with a simple side salad topped with toasted cashews and a vinaigrette.

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