Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup with Red Lentils

This spicy sesame carrot soup is made hearty with red lentils, creamy with tahini, and extra flavourful with chilies, whole spices, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and slowly cooked onions. Simple ingredients and so easy to make!

An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
An overhead shot of a pot of creamy and vibrant orange soup that is garnished with the following: chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, chili oil, and tahini.
An overhead shot of ingredients for a spicy sesame carrot soup on a wood background.
Two images show spices in a grinder and some sautéed onions with spices.

I know that there’s no shortage of carrot soup recipes online. But when I spontaneously blended some tahini and a higher-than-normal amount of chillies into a simple carrot soup at home recently? I knew I had a winner that I had to share with you. The spices, the creamy tahini and lentils, and the little punch of sesame oil and lime at the end… just so good!

This soup follows a basic method. We sauté aromatics, add the core ingredients to the pot, simmer everything with stock, and then purée until smooth. Nothing too complicated! It’s in the vein of classic carrot ginger soup. But I go a lot heavier with spices and flavour. I used whole cumin, whole coriander, and Diaspora Co’s Kashmiri chillies here. I toast and grind the whole spices before adding to slowly sautéed onions. The soup is blended with a quarter cup of tahini and some toasted sesame oil at the end. So lush!

The lentils and tahini make this naturally vegan soup satiating enough to have on its own. I think crusty bread for dipping is always a good idea though. This soup would freeze beautifully in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

I garnished mine with extra swirls of tahini, some drizzles of chili-infused oil, sesame seeds, ground black pepper, and chopped cilantro. This combination looks beautiful and is so delicious.

If you’re looking for more soup inspiration these days, you might also like this Quick Smoky Red Lentil Stew, my Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup, or this big old roundup of over 25 Vegan Soup Recipes. Hope you’re having a great week so far!

Two images show chopped carrots being poured into a pot and a fully cooked pot of carrots, lentils, and broth.
Image shows tahini being poured into a blender that contains cooked carrots and lentils and broth.
An overhead shot of a pot of creamy and vibrant orange soup that is garnished with the following: chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, chili oil, and tahini.
An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup with Red Lentils

This spicy sesame carrot soup is hearty with lentils and tahini, and flavourful with chilies, whole spices, toasted sesame oil, and slowly cooked onions. Simple ingredients and easy to make!
PREP TIME20 mins
COOK TIME45 mins
TOTAL TIME1 hr 5 mins
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Laura Wright

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground chillies or chili flakes (I used Diaspora Co.’s ground Kashmiri chillies)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2- inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 ½ lbs carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup split red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

Instructions

  • Set a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the pot and toast, stirring them up often. Toast the spices until very fragrant, about 45 seconds to a full minute. Dump the seeds out onto a small plate and allow them to cool completely before grinding up to a powder in a spice grinder. Set the ground spices aside.
  • Return the large soup pot to the stove over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Swirl the oil around a bit and then add the onions to the pot and stir. The onions should be sizzling, but on the quieter end of sizzling. Lower the heat if necessary. Keep cooking the onions, stirring occasionally, until very soft and translucent (but not browning), about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add the ground cumin and coriander to the pot, along with the ground chillies as well. Stir and cook along with the onions for one full minute. Then, add the minced garlic and ginger to the pot and stir. Keep cooking until the garlic is very fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the carrots to the pot along with big pinches of salt and pepper. Stir the carrots to coat them in the spices and sautéed onions. Then, add the red lentils to the pot and stir once more. Finally, pour in the vegetable stock and give it a final stir.
  • Bring this broth-y carrot, lentil, and spice mixture to a boil and then lower your heat to a simmer. Simmer this mixture uncovered, stirring here and there, until the carrots are quite soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Carefully ladle the broth-y carrot, lentil, and spice mixture into the pitcher of an upright, vented blender. To this mixture, add the tahini, sesame oil, and Tamari. Close the lid on the pitcher and slowly bring the speed of the blender up to high. You may have to add a few splashes of water to get things moving. Blend until you have a completely smooth puree.
  • Pour the spicy sesame carrot soup back into the pot. At this point, you can leave it as-is or add some water to make the texture a bit more fluid. I personally like a bit of fluidity in pureed soups, so I added 2 cups of water at this point. Bring the soup up to a boil, stirring often. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
  • Give the soup a taste at this point to see if you need to adjust some of the seasoning. Maybe it needs even more lemon/lime for your taste, some extra pepper etc. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and then serve! I topped mine with chopped cilantro, drizzles of tahini and chili oil, and sesame seeds.

Notes

  • The pureed soup will be super thick when it comes out of the blender. Some people enjoy soup this way! If that’s you, leave it at that. For me, I like a pureed soup to have some fluidity to it. I ended up adding 2 full cups of water to mine to get the texture that I like.
  • If you don’t have the whole spices on hand, you can use an equal amount of ground cumin and coriander and skip that initial toasting and grinding step.
  • Really take your time with cooking the onions. It’s a key flavour-building step for this simple soup.
  • I was able to blend the entire soup in one go with my old Vitamix 5200 series blender.
  • An overhead shot of a bowl of vibrant and creamy orange soup that is swirled with a red slick of oil on top. The soup has a crust of bread in it and is also garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.
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    How to make Spicy Sesame Carrot Soup