Slow Cooker Golden Lentil Soup is a low-fuss meal perfect for healthy weeknight dinners or make-ahead lunches. This hearty soup is brimming with anti-inflammatory ingredients, fiber, and plant-based protein to keep you full and nourished. You know that feeling when it’s time to break out your thick winter sweaters that have been tucked away in the depths of your closet or in that cheap plastic storage container under your bed? You drape your upper body in your favorite fleece, give yourself an all-embracing bear hug, and relish in the comforting and cozy nature of your seasonal heirloom.
Good, because that’s the feeling you’ll get by eating a piping hot bowl of this rich, wildly flavorful soup. This recipe is packed with vitamin-rich and nutrient-dense ingredients like kale, carrots, turmeric, and lentils. Lentils, in their tiny legume-glory, are actually nutrition powerhouses with the perfect mix of protein and fiber, making them an excellent addition to plant-based soups and stews to help keep you full longer. Plus, their incredibly inexpensive (I buy them in the bulk-bin section of Whole Foods or Sprouts) and can keep for awhile when stored away in the pantry.
This recipe calls for red lentils, which are de-husked and split before packaging, helping them cook faster than most other lentil varieties. So you may be wondering why we’re using a quick-cooking lentil in a slow cooker recipe? The key here is to embrace their mushy destiny by letting them break down just enough to form a thick, creamy base.A wealth of aromatics and dried spices create a fragrant broth that gets a punch of umami from tomato paste and luxurious texture from coconut milk. I love it topped with a tangle of herbs and dollop of whole-milk yogurt, but free to omit or use a non-dairy yogurt to keep it vegan. A side of naan is also a good idea. A very good idea.
This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen to enjoy at future lunchtimes. Its simplicity and warm, cozy nature will make it an instant home-cooked favorite, especially on chilly, wintry days.
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots (from 2 large carrots)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups dried red lentils
- 4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 3 cups finely chopped lacinato kale
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Place first twelve ingredients (through cumin) in a 5- to 6-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Stir well to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 5 hours. Turn off heat; stir in kale and coconut milk. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Spoon into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro, or toppings of choice.