Lentil Soup with Coconut // Not Without Salt

I opened the fridge to scour its neglected contents after a busy weekend. Little bits of carrots and onion sat deserted at the bottom of the vegetable drawer. The half bunches of soggy and now unrecognizable herbs were tossed into the garbage. Once the fridge was reaped of its humble contents I moved on to the cupboards; so full a jar of fennel seeds spilled all over the counter as I dug deep in the back to find the bay leaves.

Our cupboards are full.

The purpose for this soup and this post is to bring attention to The Lunchbox Fund and more importantly the fact that 65% of children living in South Africa are hungry. As I stir black lentils into a pot with onions, carrots and red pepper I urge myself to look into that number and see faces. See children, not unlike my own in energy, joy and size. The difference is these children struggle to make it through today with grumbling tummies.

A dear friend of mine recently traveled to India. She came home after that trip moved by all she had seen and with these words, “blessed to be a blessing.” They rang through my head as I created a soup of ingredients from my cupboard. With a full cupboard and a voice I too can be a blessing and so can you.

Lentil Soup with Coconut // Not Without Salt

Lentil Soup with Coconut // Not Without Salt

Today we have a goal, a big goal, a doable goal – to raise $5,000. It’s enough to feed 100 South African children for an entire year. You know, what if we raised $10,000 so we could feed 200 sweet children? Could we do $15,000?! I totally think we could. That’s 300 little ones able to live and go to school with full stomachs and healthy minds and bodies. As my little boy said over while we sat at our table and ate lentil soup, “that’s a lot of kids.” Yes, it is. And we can feed them.

If you are blessed with a full cupboard, let’s be a blessing to those whose cupboards are empty.

Please join myself and nearly 100 other bloggers in donating to The Lunchbox Fund. We are nearing closer to our goal but I say let’s leave that $5,000 goal in the dust and reach for something greater. Anything helps.

Lentil Soup with Coconut // Not Without Salt


Lentil Soup with Coconut // Not Without Salt

If you feel inspired to help us today head here to make a donation and thank you, Nicole Gulotta for starting this campaign.



Lentil Soup with Coconut

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 red pepper, diced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

salt & pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 bay leaves

pinch chile flake

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk

3/4 cup black Beluga lentils (I’m sure other types would be fine, you may have to adjust the amount of water and cooking time)

2 cups water

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. When the oil is shimmering add the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper along with a pinch of salt. Saute until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, bay, chile flake and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue to saute for 3 minutes until fragrant and the garlic softens. Stir in the tomato paste and coconut milk. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the lentils. Add the water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, bring to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove the cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, shaved radish and a drizzle of olive oil or unsweetened yogurt.

26 Responses to “Feed South Africa + Lentil Soup with Coconut”

  1. Jenny

    Hi Ash,
    I just want to say I am in love with your blog. I love your recipes and love your photos… it’s just all so wonderful!

  2. Anina @ Aninas-Recipes

    I live in South Africa. Everyday, I see struggling faces at the stop streets, cupping their hands with a baby on their back and a toddler at their feet. Thank you everyone for giving hope to the hopeless!!

  3. Rachel @ EdibleHTX

    I cannot imagine the feeling of so much hunger. It is so painful to be hungry, I can’t imagine that as a way of life. I’ll definitely be donating. Your photographs and words are all so beautiful, can’t wait to continue following this blog.

    That being said- I love lentil bean soup. I usually use a variation of Alton Brown’s recipe, but I’ll have to try it with added coconut next time. I like to use an immersion blender on mine so it’s a little thicker.

  4. Donna

    Lovely, important message…lovely important bowl of warmth (warmth for soul and tummy).. Question…any clue as how to keep the black hue when cooking Beluga Lentils?..Could a few drops of squid “ink” suffice? I love the color when I buy them…yet always feel disappointed when they turn brown during the cooking process!

  5. Noca

    I have been an adamant follower of your blog since reading about it on the best cooking blogs on 2013. After this post, I’m even more of a fan. Being married to a South African and having visited on several occasions, South Africa is a country, not unlike my own (Brazil), of beautiful smiling faces, incredible diversity in peoples, cultures and nature and of astounding natural beauty and yet so much poverty. Thank you for bringing this issue to light and allowing us an opportunity to help.

  6. Tyler

    Such a great message and wonderful soup. I made this this last night and it was delicious. I had red lentils on had so used those and didn’t have any ground coriander so just omitted it and it turned out great! Love the radishes on top too.

  7. Claudia

    I love the cauliflower soup, I also roasted my veggis for this soup but With the coconut cream and kimchi its delish!
    Thanks 🙂

  8. Maria Jacketti

    My nineteen year old daughter, Laurel, has been making your recipes and sending us into culinary heaven. We put a lot more spearmint in the cupcake icing. We are “minties.”

  9. Anna

    This is a winner! Made it with red lentils and it was great. Kept well as leftovers in the fridge for work lunches, too.

    I’ll definitely be enjoying this one again!

  10. Conny

    Hello from Germany! I just discovered your beautiful blog through a post from Aran Goyoaga. Your recipes are quite inspiring and I can’t wait to try ALL of them 😉 Today I started with this lentil soup today and I enjoyed it very much. Since I’m a big fan ouf spicy-sour flavours, I added a little bit of lemon juice right before serving it. YUM.

  11. Kimberly Davis

    This was absolutely delicious, thank you! I’m typing this with a big bowl of soup sitting by my side! I love what you’re doing and look forward to following you blog and supporting your work. Thank you!

  12. Logan's Mom

    I love your blog. I have made this recipe many times…actually it has become a ritual…ad libbing a bit here & there to allow for the addition of leftovers… the last of a weeks veggies & herbs … and fun experiments with the odds & ends in my spice cupboard. We made this again last night. The soup warmed our souls and spirits. Hope you have a great holiday season.