Spiced carrot & lentil soup

Spiced carrot & lentil soup

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(603 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
A delicious, spicy blend, packed full of iron and low fat to boot. It's ready in under half an hour or can be made in a slow cooker

Nutrition and extra info

  • To make dairy-free, see 'try' below
  • Vegetarian
  • Dairy-free


  • kcal238
  • fat7g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs34g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein11g
  • salt0.25g
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  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 600g carrots, washed and coarsely grated (no need to peel)



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 140g split red lentils
  • 1l hot vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
  • 125ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • plain yogurt and naan bread, to serve



    Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…


  1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside. Add the oil, carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have swollen and softened.

  2. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth (or leave it chunky if you prefer). Season to taste and finish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of the reserved toasted spices. Serve with warmed naan breads.

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Comments (627)

Jasboo's picture

This is my go to staple soup. It is tasty, filling and so easy to make. I add garlic and a sweet potato to add more flavour. I highly recommend this soup to everyone

johnjustice's picture

Just made this for lunch. Like many others I tweeked this a little. Used fresh grated ginger in place of the cumin and chilli flakes and also used Almond milk. This is a low cal, low cost and gut healthy light meal. The basic recipe is ideal to vary according to taste and available ingredients. It has to be one to use for any one looking for a heart healthy, cost effective easy to make meal. It is in my recipe book.

jacqs79's picture

Amazingly tasty and really fast. I'll make this again! I used almond milk so my dairy intolerant daughter could have some too and it worked a treat.

hallabal's picture

Lovely and so easy! This recipe works well with butternut squash straight from the freezer to substitute for the carrots - means I can always make a tasty hearty vegetarian soup straight from stores even if I've run out of fresh veg. I left out the milk and just used a potato masher in the pan just before serving, to make the soup thick but still a bit chunky.

furrypussy's picture

I used half carrot and half celery mixture; and only other difference was a tad more cumin seeds (and a sprinkle of dried cumin half way thru cooking as it was a bit bland). Used 25% reduced stock cubes, but needed a bit more salt at the end. Outcome: a bit of a boring soup. Looked for dried ginger but didn't have any. Maybe just use carrots! Didn't bother with yogurt. I suppose for me, soup without cream will always be a bit boring.

lazywife's picture

Scrumptious! Didn't like it when I first cooked it, and was frightened of the colour, but a day later, gently heated - lovely!

lvd85's picture

Delicious soup! Our toddler loved it too, left out the chilli for her of course and we added freshly ground pepper to our bowls. I didn't see the point of adding the olive oil, because it's not like you're frying the carrots or anything. I think it might make the soup smoother, but we didn't add it and we didn't miss it either.

vixg66's picture

grawk, I get it at 248 calories without yoghurt if using 2tbs oil (add another 20-50 cals depending on type of yoghurt and amount you'd add). You could use 1 tsp oil to get it to 196 calories for the soup alone. If you stretch it to 6 portions it could be between 128 - 163 calories per portion, without bread or yoghurt.

kaffahmedia's picture

As usual, I cooked too much, so I have put the extra soup in the freezer for another day. It's a wonderfully nutritious soup that is really easy to take as a pack up to work. Highly recommended!

Hidayat M
Praktisi Jasa SEO

saschlet's picture

Following others' suggestions, I used 2 tsp cumin seeds, fried up with a small unpeeled, chopped potato, a red onion, pinch of chilli flakes, a clove of garlic and a heaped tsp of grated ginger. Then added only 100ml milk, 1L veg stock and all carrots and lentils and just simmered it away while I was doing other things, then stick blended. Perfection and an easy way to get lots of iron apparently! Didn't bother with any extras as it's creamy enough from the milk. I also don't think you need bread or anything else with this if you put the potato in.

grawrc's picture

This soup is very tasty but I don't bother with milk: I just use stock. I do have an issue with the calorie count however. It is listed as 238 calories per serving. The ingredients list includes naan bread and a dollop of yoghurt. With naan bread containing 336 calories per 100g it would be helpful to have more exact weights/measurements for those of us watching the calories. I find this site an excellent source of recipes but would really appreciate more precise information about what exactly is included in the calorie count. Compare "Hairy Dieters" who tell you how many calories are included in the dish then how many more you add if you eat e.g. rice or potatoes with it.

mimi19836's picture

SO good. Nutritious, cheap, easy and delicious!

CelesteOnTheRocks's picture

I tried this recipe out the other night, and the soup was wonderful! I added some coriander seeds and fresh coriander, and it made a really warming and tasty soup.

As usual, I cooked too much, so I have put the extra soup in the freezer for another day. It's a wonderfully nutritious soup that is really easy to take as a pack up to work. Highly recommended!

jak100's picture

Wow, great recipe. I had to play with it though as I only had half the amount of carrots required, so added the same quantity of parnips. I didn't have cumin seeds or chilli flakes, so used powder. And I put it in the simmering oven of my Aga for far too long! But as I was intending to blitz it anyway, it really didn't matter. An absolute winner.

MissMercedes's picture

Had some carrots left over, so used them for this soup. Deliciously warming. Will definitely make again. 5/5

jmalanga1981's picture

So easy. Put the ingredients into the slow cooker as per instructions. Put in ground cumin, tumeric, half a teaspoon of ginger and some parsnip that I grated. Beautiful thick soup that cooked whilst I was out shopping. Whizzed it up and froze it ready to be had at a later date with some crusty bread. Yum!

mofofunk's picture


Bit confused. You say "Put the ingredients into the slow cooker as per instructions"....I don't see the instructions for the slow cooker......????

izzbubz's picture

The slow cooker instructions are in the "tip" section underneath the actual recipe :)

natalie32's picture

Really recommend this recipe, I did alter it a bit, I added swede, onions, celery, garlic and lemon juice. I also used curry powder as I didn't have cumin. However as a base for inspiration this recipe is great!

CaroE's picture

I've made this a few times with different tweaks each time. For the ultimate soup, add a small chopped onion when frying the spices (and 1tsp turmeric and coriander and a little chili powder) then add a diced potato to help thicken it up. Finally skip the milk but add a good squirt of tomato puree. Absolutely fantastic!


Questions (19)

TheMilkCowBlues's picture

I was wondering if you could substitute the milk for soy milk?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi, thanks for getting in touch. We haven't tested this recipe using soy milk so cannot guarantee perfect results but can see no reason why it wouldn't be absolutely fine to do so. Let us know how you get on.

Kanin's picture

I am not familiar with all the English food terms, so could someone explain what means "split red lentils"?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Kanin, thanks for getting in touch, lentils are small pulses, similar to peas which are dried and used in soups, stews and dhal recipes. They come in different colours and types. The ones for this recipe are the red split kind which are a deep orange colour and look a bit like a tiny flat disc. We have a glossary page on lentils which may help a little more http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/glossary/lentils. Hope this helps, let us know how you get on or if you need more information.  

alison_sampson1's picture

Is the calorie count per portion or for the whole lot?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi alison_sampson1 thanks for your question. The nutritional information is calculated for 1 portion. 

loulouonline's picture

Hi. Can I use green or puy lentils instead? I'm out of red ones!

goodfoodteam's picture
Yes you can substitute the type of lentils, it will affect the colour of the soup though.
Gary Morris's picture

I'm printing slow cooker recipes for my Dad, a lot of these use the cooker method with a "Tip" box at the bottom that has up to 3 or so options.
When printing, the default seems to be a "Dairy Free" option, so it hides the tip for using a slow cooker.
Is there a work around please?

Deligreg's picture

It's not really clear is the 238 cals per bowl or for the full amount that serves 4 ? Lovey soup many thanks Adele

Spooninasaucepan's picture

Oops meant to say a link back to this post.

Spooninasaucepan's picture

Hi Good Food Team.
I love this recipe and make it frequently in my slow cooker. I'd like to reproduce the recipe on my blog. I will provide links and the original recipe in the post.
May I do so?
Thank you,

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Maggie, thanks for getting in touch. Please could you email goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com with a link to your website? Thanks, BBC Good Food team

kelle's picture

Why is this recipe in the dairy free section? It contains milk!?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. Sorry for the confusion - you can make the soup dairy-free by substituting the milk for coconut milk, as suggested in the tips section. We'll amend to make this more clear.

ellenpowell's picture

Can you freeze this soup?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. Yes, this soup can be frozen.

hangry's picture

Why is this in your dairy free section???

sara-rara's picture

Because it does state that you can make it dairy free by using reduced fat coconut milk instead of cows milk. Admittedly it's not that clear, but it is on there.

Tips (6)

notnixon's picture

Delicious! I used coconut milk (the drinking kind) rather than cows milk. The hint of coconut really helped the flavour.

Atay's picture

Fantastic recipe - cheap, easy, tasty and healthy - I made it vegan by swapping the dairy milk for a tin of coconut milk. This has become a regular of mine and has been a big hit with friends.

JoanneMat's picture

If you are going to blend at the end there is really no need to grate the carrots to begin with just chop quickly and throw in to pot!

ollynewport's picture

If you prefer a chunky soup, cut the the carrots into small cubes, keeping the rest of the ingredients the same. If you wish to have meat: take several slices of smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces, fry until crispy, and add to the saucepan along with the carrot, lentils, milk and stock.

fitnessjonas's picture

A great soup, very filling. I have it as a snack as it has good balance of veg and vegetarian protein.

jaysterhowl's picture

This soup is lovely, but much nicer if you add extra spices and a bit of smoked paprika (as others have said). Be very meagre with the chilli flakes however, as the frying at the start really brings out the spice!