Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk
Winter is coming and so is soup season! Try this Creamy Tomato Lentil soup recipe to keep you warm and satisfied!
This recipe for a creamy tomato lentil soup uses low fat coconut milk and lentils to keep you feeling fulfilled with energy-boosting MCT fats, plant-based proteins, and fiber! With all of the packed nutrients, the soup still contains way less calories than its creamy counterparts!
As the temperatures drop, the cravings for these comforting and hearty soups start to rise! Cream-based or cheesy soups, such as Clam Chowder and Baked Potato, might look delicious this time of year. The empty calories and sodium might not be so pretty. Thanks to heavy amounts of fats and excess salt, these soups can serve up to 300 calories and 800mg sodium in just one 8oz serving. Yeah, I’m all set thanks!
Wait, isn’t saturated fat trendy again?
Since the release of conflicting reports on the link between saturated fat intake and heart disease risk, the mention of fat consumption in the media have skyrocketed. Research and health professionals, such as myself, still advise consumers to eat saturated fats in moderation. The current guideline is an aim of 10% or less of your total calories. Even the American Heart Association suggests to aim at 5-6% of your calories from saturated fats found in foods such as butter, meats, and dairy. Saturated fat is not our enemy. It even helps raise our HDL (good) cholesterol. Overall, keeping saturated fats in moderation and replacing the majority of our total fat intake (25-30% of our daily calories) with plant-based unsaturated fats gives the greater benefit for heart health. There is even research discussing the type and size of fat particles and not so much the cholesterol numbers, but that is a whole other topic.
Coconut milk and coconut oil are another craze thanks to their source of MCT’s. Again, there is not enough research to back up the claims of MCT (medium chain triglyceride) fats for heart health and other preventions for disease risk. Currently, MCT oil is used for people with GI issues as it is easily absorbed. It is used more rapidly as energy instead of being stored which could be great for athletes and fitness buffs. Besides the discussed benefit of MCT’s in coconut milk, also be aware that it includes high amounts of saturated fat. Just because these products are a trend doesn’t mean to go and replace it with all of your food products. Consuming everything in moderation remains the motto.
In this recipe…
The flavors in this delicious and hearty soup are slightly spicy and smoky. If spicy isn’t your thing, cut out the red chili pepper flakes. The smoked paprika and cumin enhance smokiness to the lentil soup, but if you like a sweeter or more savory taste, try basil or oregano for an Italian style dish.
The tomato lentil soup is vegan and gluten-free friendly. For those strictly vegan, I would recommend sprinkling nutritional yeast as a topping to sneak in more B12 as this vitamin is mainly available in animal sources. Feel free to try the Braggs nutritional yeast seasoning blend (I also top it on popcorn for a different taste).
This recipe also includes a handheld immersion blender to puree the chunky soup. If you do not have one, no worries! You can pour the soup in batches into a blender and then return to the pot.
I hope you enjoy the rich and tasty soup during the cold winter months ahead. Most importantly, remember it is the quality of foods that matters most!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of sea salt (optional)
- 2 cups vegetarian broth (or substitute with chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, No Salt Added
- 1 14oz can Lite Coconut Milk
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- In a large pot heat olive oil on medium high. Add the onions and garlic; saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the remaining ingredients and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender.
- Remove from heat and take out the bay leaf.
- Using an immersion blender, pulse and puree the soup to your liking. If you don't have a handheld immersion blender, pour the soup in batches into a blender and pulse until pureed soup.
- Top with additional parsley and red pepper flakes (optional).
Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.