Yellow Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk & Lime

Yellow lentil soup with coconut milk & lime

In Philippines it never truly gets cold enough to make soup… but we make it anyway, because hey, soup is good, right?  I just wait for a cloudy day (and in rainy season, I never have to wait long!) turn on the air-conditioner, and pretend we measure temperature in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius.  It’s worked for me for the past 12 years, so please don’t ruin my fantasy.

Yellow lentil soup with coconut milk & lime

As I’m writing this, it’s “cool” and rainy… a perfect day for soup, wouldn’t you agree?  I love this yellow lentil coconut beauty: it has my favourite flavours of Thailand… ginger, coriander, fresh chilies, cilantro, coconut, & kafir lime… a beautiful & addictive combination that I could eat every day.  Thailand is front & centre in my mind at the moment, because my sweet girl Theda is there this weekend at a cross country qualifying meet.  Lucky her!  In my day, the farthest I ever traveled with my gymnastics team was Kansas City.  Times do change!

Yellow lentil soup with coconut milk & lime

Unless she develops a sudden liking for Pad Thai (which is possible, I suppose!), my guess is we’ll probably eat more Thai food at home this weekend than Theda will, at least in the form of this soup.  It’s simple to make and relatively quick-cooking, given that the lentils will be tender in a little under half an hour.  Although the ingredient list is long, chances are you’ll already have most of them in your kitchen.  I hope so, so you can get right to making this soup… without having to, er… brave the cold to go to the grocery store!

Yellow lentil soup with coconut milk & lime

You’ll be glad you made it… it’s light but filling… protein-packed from the lentils… with a bright, fresh, complex flavour & silky texture that I hope will shoot it to the top of your favourites list, too.

Yellow lentil soup with coconut milk & lime

It’s a perfect weekend dinner, with a glass of Pinot Grigio, curled up on the sofa with a movie or multiple episodes of Lost… or, just passing the time til your sweet thing comes home…


Yellow Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk & Lime

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 8 cups (about 6 servings)

Yellow Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk & Lime


  • 1 T. grapeseed oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large knob of ginger, peeled & minced (about 2 T.)
  • 1 long red (mild) chili, seeded & chopped
  • 3 small tomatoes, seeded & cut into chunks
  • 3-4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 kafir lime leaves, torn
  • 1 T. coriander
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & diced
  • 2 cups (500 gm) yellow lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 200 ml (1 small box or ½ can) light coconut milk
  • 1 T. fish sauce (if not vegan)
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. finely ground black pepper
  • 2 T. lime juice (can sub calamansi juice)
  • lime wedges & cilantro to garnish


  • Combine onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, and tomatoes in a blender or food processor, and process until fairly smooth.
  • Heat oil in a large soup pan. Cook blended onion mixture along with cardamom pods, kafir lime leaves, & coriander, until the mixture is very fragrant. Add a bit of water if necessary to keep from sticking.
  • Add the carrot, lentils, and stock or water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until everything is very soft and tender. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, salt & pepper and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Remove cardamom pods & lime leaves, and puree the soup using a hand-held immersion blender, or in a regular blender. Add lime juice, taste, and adjust seasonings. Heat briefly if necessary.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with a lime wedge alongside.
  • Makes about 8 cups.


If you can't find kafir lime leaves, you can substitute 1 teaspoon grated lime zest instead

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  1. Marilyn Duncan Webb says

    I made this last night. It is SO delicious with a really deep flavour. Perfect for our Rocky Mountain Fall season. Thanks so much

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