Black Lentil Soup with Turmeric

Recipe 20 minPreparation Time 50 minCooking Time
Black Lentil Soup with Turmeric

Black Lentil Soup with Turmeric

20 minPreparation Time 50 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

We love black lentils because they hold their shape, staying firm when cooked. You could use green lentils for this — which also hold together well — or a combination of both types. Or you might want to substitute a portion with some that are softer in texture — say, half black and half red, so that the red ones break down and thicken the soup. The many vegetables, aromatics, and spices in this dish make it a nutritional powerhouse, and a dollop of coconut yogurt in each bowl adds extra flavor, richness, and tartness. If you don’t have coconut yogurt on hand, regular yogurt is delicious, or keep it dairy-free by serving this with lemon wedges for their bright acidity.

The Benefits

Lentils are an excellent source of fiber, which promotes digestive health, and by weight, they’re high in protein relative to other legumes and nuts. The trio of onions, carrots, and celery contain a host of vitamins and antioxidants to support your immune system and heart health. And anti-inflammatory ginger and turmeric are even better together.


Serves 8 to 10
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces on the bias
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (450 g) black lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 7 1/3 cups (1.75 L) vegetable broth or water
  • 1 (14.5-oz/410-g) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of kale, spinach, or arugula (about 75 g), chopped
  • 1/2 cup (12 g) herbs such as parsley or cilantro leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coconut milk yogurt for serving
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)


  1. Step 1
    Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until toasty and fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes. Grind them to a coarse powder with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Step 2
    In a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for a minute.
  3. Step 3
    Add the lentils and drop in the bay leaf and thyme; give that a stir. Pour in the broth or water and the tomatoes with their liquid. Cook the lentils at a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, until they are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in ½ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. If you like a brothier soup, add more liquid (again, taste and adjust the seasoning).
  4. Step 4
    Stir in the greens and herbs and cook just until they’ve wilted, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a dollop of coconut yogurt on top. Sometimes I sprinkle it with sesame seeds, too. This makes a little over 2 qt/2 L. Any remaining soup will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 1 month.