SLOW AND GOLDEN: LENTIL SOUP WITH COCONUT, SPINACH & LIME

GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!rinsing lentilspin it!
Sliding in with a recipe that may not be the most holiday-appropriate (oopsy–check this page if you need some Thanksgiving inspiration though). You know what is appropriate though? Nourishing yourself simply as the social engagements start lining up and the to-do lists grow ever-longer. Even if you can detach yourself from some of the pressures of the holidays, the general atmosphere can be high-strung. From late November until the end of the year, your focus and precious time are stuck in a tug-of-war between your best intentions for calm and the seriously high demands of the season. Am I being dramatic or does anyone else feel this way at some point?

Throw some extra sugar, booze, the somewhat cluttered nature of festive decor (it’s cute but…), and a serious uptick in random spending on things most of us probably don’t need… and the grind of the holidays gets real real fast.

I don’t think food can solve all of these problems, but maybe slow cooking can? I mostly use my slow cooker for large batches of chickpeas, black beans etc. If I’m doing a more “finished product” kind of dish, I usually slam it on the high setting to get it done faster. The thing about slow cookers though, whether you use the high or low setting, is that they are quietly getting it done while you focus on other things. I know that this isn’t breaking news, but a reminder might be helpful this time of year.

This soup is somewhat similar to the root vegetable dal from my book, but with a significant coconut, lime, and spinach twist (and obviously the mega slow cooker twist). Another difference: the lentils seem to keep their shape in this recipe, despite the long cooking time. I run a sweet potato and onion through a box grater here so that the wispy shreds slowly melt around the lentils, eventually forming the body of the soup. Once you measure up your spices and grab a few pantry staples, this soup is pretty much in the bag. It’s a big batch that will feed you well for a while.

All my slow cooker people, hope you try this one. Stay slow and golden out there ;)

GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SPINACH, LIME & COCONUT - The First messpin it!
GOLDEN LENTIL SOUP WITH SWEET POTATOES, COCONUT, SPINACH & LIME

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 6-8
NOTES: I only add the salt at the very end because I’m paranoid about adding it early and the lentils becoming tough as a result.
-This recipe is naturally oil-free, but I stirred a little coconut oil into the cooker at the end for that lush, fatty slick up top. Not necessary though!
-Grating sweet potatoes makes a huge mess, so I really do recommend doing it right within the slow cooker’s insert to keep it tidy.
-I dropped a dense dollop of coconut milk yogurt on top of our servings and it was heavenly. Highly recommend it!
-I think you could swing this on the “low” setting for 7-8 hours. One thing to remember is that spices tend to lose their power once you get into the 6-8 hour timeline. Taste and adjust if need be!

1 medium sweet potato, peeled (mine was around 375 grams)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 ½ cups split red lentils
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 14.5 ounce (428 ml) can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce (428 ml) can light coconut milk
4 cups water
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 ½ teaspoons black mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 dried curry leaves (optional)
ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach (or more if you like)
1 lime, juiced
sea salt, to taste
chopped cilantro

Set a box grater over/inside your slow cooker insert. Grate the sweet potato directly into the insert. Grate the yellow onion directly into the insert as well.

Rinse the red lentils thoroughly, until they stop foaming up in the strainer. Shake the excess moisture off and transfer them to your slow cooker insert.

To the insert, add the garlic, ginger, crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, water, turmeric, cayenne, mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves, and black pepper. Give it all a good stir. In all honesty it’s going to look sort of gross at this point.

Place the insert into your slow cooker unit, lock the lid on top, and set the cooker to “high.” Let the soup cook for 4 hours.

Once the 4 hours are up, carefully remove the lid and stir the soup up a bit. Add the spinach, lime juice, and enough salt to season to your liking. Stir the soup one more time and lock the lid back on. Keep the soup going on the “high” setting until the spinach is wilted.

Serve the soup hot with chopped cilantro.

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  • Alice16/11/2017 - 10:34 am

    I don’t have a slow cooker…. but now I really want one. If only I can find the space for it. :)

    The soup looks so good & substantial full-course soups are my favorite thing. I don’t cook with lentils nearly enough, but I love their flavor so I need to get on it and make this.ReplyCancel

    • Laura16/11/2017 - 10:59 am

      They are seriously all huge haha. I have to keep mine in my basement because my kitchen’s on the small side ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Katrina16/11/2017 - 11:52 am

    Such a comforting soup! I love the lime in there!ReplyCancel

  • Kylie M.16/11/2017 - 1:24 pm

    Wow this lentil soup looks incredible!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full16/11/2017 - 3:23 pm

    My Thanksgiving/Christmas last year was kind of muted, so I’m excited to dive into all the holiday fluffery!! That being said, I’m NOT down for all the sugar/snacks/heavy food that the holidays usually bring. My body’s been asking me to eat lighter lately, and it makes me feel more energetic when I’m not being “weighed down”. So soups, salads, and vegetable-heavy dishes are the way I’m going this year!!ReplyCancel

  • Nandita17/11/2017 - 4:56 am

    Love the photos of your kitchen shelves and love this simple recipe! Totally winter friendly :)ReplyCancel

  • Nic17/11/2017 - 5:07 am

    Hi Laura…this looks so amazing that i want to try it TODAY!. Just a quick question on the level of garlic… do you think it would impact too much on the flavour if i reduced it down to, say, two cloves? Five sounds tasty but i am out in company tomorrow and wonder whether the aftermath of the garlic could be too much :-)
    Thanks so much….ReplyCancel

    • Laura17/11/2017 - 7:14 am

      You could definitely cut the garlic. This soup has enough going on flavour-wise to reduce it! ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Liz K17/11/2017 - 7:37 am

    I’ve been having trouble finding regular old mustard seeds, are the black ones that different? Heading to whole foods today to see if they will have a better selection than my usual grocery store.ReplyCancel

    • Laura17/11/2017 - 12:31 pm

      The yellow ones will work just fine. The black ones tend to be a bit more pungent, but in the grand scheme of this soup, I don’t think you would notice too much of a difference.I feel like Whole Foods will definitely have them though.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Erin at Pure Feast17/11/2017 - 8:44 am

    Seriously LOVE using my slow cooker, and lentils, coconut milk and curry spices is one of my favourite combos. Can’t wait to try this recipe! The shredded sweet potato is genius.ReplyCancel

  • Heather17/11/2017 - 10:32 am

    This looks so, so good! I’m going to give it a try this week, do you have any general suggestions for adapting to make it on the stove?ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder17/11/2017 - 11:37 am

    You are so not the only one who feels this way, and I think you described the struggle for balance perfectly. Really wishing I hadn’t given away our slow cooker years ago, but may need to try to remedy it in my pressure cooker soon ;) we’ll see how it goes! Hugs Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Anna17/11/2017 - 12:26 pm

    This looks AMAZING! But there has to be away of doing it without a slow cooker?!ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/11/2017 - 3:28 pm

      A few people messaged me on Instagram saying that they simply made the soup as-is on the stovetop! I’m guessing they brought everything to a boil and let it simmer until everything was tender and incorporated/smooth and creamy.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Kara17/11/2017 - 5:13 pm

    Hi ~ Can this be made without using a slow cooker? I have one but would love to get in this in my belly tonight and I don’t have the 4 hours to slow cook.

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura21/11/2017 - 3:28 pm

      So sorry for the late response! See my reply to Anna for this one ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Audra19/11/2017 - 3:08 pm

    I’ve been looking for a hearty slow cooker recipe, so thank you so much for this. These flavourings are perfect for this time of years, and I love that it’s lentil-based. Soups don’t normally fill me up, but this was almost like a curry which is great. Love everything you come up with! Looking forward to cooking up some of your recipes for the holidays :)ReplyCancel

  • Jill19/11/2017 - 3:57 pm

    This looks delicious and can’t wait to put it in rotation for the winter!
    Regarding your comment about not salting lentils at the start : here is an article to read that explains why you should salt…http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/11/how-to-make-french-lentils.html#comments-301071 Even though this is about french lentils I’m sure it applies across the board with all lentils.
    He also has a good article about beans and the myth about not salting cooking water. And actually, it’s not the salt that will make a bean skin tough but something acidic, like tomato :)ReplyCancel

  • chrissie20/11/2017 - 3:49 pm

    I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! Thank youReplyCancel

  • Aleisha21/11/2017 - 10:10 pm

    This looks amazing! I have been looking for some vegan slow cooker recipes and this definitely fits the bill. The slow cooker is so fantastic for busy families like mine but a lot of the recipes that I see online include animal products so, like you, I mostly use mine for cooking beans. Please share more recipes like this!

    Also, can you share what brand of coconut yogurt you use?ReplyCancel

    • Laura22/11/2017 - 8:12 am

      Hi Aleisha!
      Thank you so much. My favourite coconut yogurt brand is Anita’s, which is only available on the east coast in the US right now I think. I make the odd trip over to New York state and always make sure that I grab it. So rich, tangy and delicious.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Amanda | Whats cooking23/11/2017 - 9:46 pm

    I just made this and it was so good! I’m bringing it to Thanksgiving at my parents. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again. It definitely rivals the delicious daal recipe in your book! So much goodness to choose from. It also happens to be beautiful when it’s done. have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

  • […] brought a delicious lentil soup/daal recipe from The First Mess and it was a hit. I certainly over-indulged a little bit as well. These chickpea bites were a […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel30/11/2017 - 12:09 pm

    Hey! This looks beyond amazing. I can’t wait to try it. I was wondering if I could use regular brown lentils instead?
    XoxoReplyCancel

    • Laura30/11/2017 - 12:56 pm

      You can! The brown lentils typically take longer to cook, but since this is happening in a slow cooker, time shouldn’t be an issue. The only difference I’m worried about is the overall creaminess/unity of the soup. The split red lentils kind of break down in this soup and contribute to the creamy texture. The brown lentils are more likely to stay whole throughout the cooking process. Let me know what it’s like if you try it!
      -LReplyCancel

      • Rachel01/12/2017 - 9:52 pm

        So I tried it with the brown lentils andddd….. it was AMAZING! I used full fat coconut milk and cooked it for an hour longer so they didn’t stay whole. It was so so good. Thank you for this amazing recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Jo10/12/2017 - 6:50 am

    Hi Laura, I’m hugely happy and grateful to have found your blog. I’m going to make this soup and the ultimate vegan snack board for our forthcoming Christmas party. I don’t have a slow cooker, but will use our Le Creuset casserole (made of cast iron and enamel) on a low heat in the oven. So excited!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah11/12/2017 - 12:34 pm

    So excited to try this! We just got our first dusting of snow here in little eastern IA. It’s perfect timing! Now..to just find the perfect loaf of bread to use as my “spoon.” :)ReplyCancel

  • Amy13/12/2017 - 11:12 am

    Put this soup on the dinner menu this week! I’m going to cook it overnight tonight- can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

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