This simple curry coconut red lentil soup makes use of one of my favorite shortcuts — Indian simmer sauce. You’ll find it in the Asian foods aisle of well-stocked supermarkets or natural foods stores. Available in (usually) 12-ounce jars, these sauces are a fantastic starter for vegan soups like this one, giving you a robust, complex flavor without having to measure and mix lots of spices.
Choose from any one of several vegan varieties of Indian simmer sauce, and make sure to read labels, as some do contain dairy. Look for dairy-free options including Goan coconut, Kashmir curry, Jalfrezi, and Madras curry. Flavors range from from mild to spicy. Favorite brands of mine included Patak’s and Maya Kaimal; Trader Joe’s has some good ones as well.
Tiny red lentils cook up quickly (15 to 20 minutes) and I highly recommend considering them a pantry staple. When you want a robust cool-weather soup fairly quickly, red lentils are a good bet. Bought in bulk, they’re economical as well. Serve this hefty, warming soup with a fresh bread or flatbread.