Sri Lankan-spiced lentil and bean soup

Use any soup mix in this Sri Lankan-spiced soup.
Use any soup mix in this Sri Lankan-spiced soup. Photo: Katrina Meynink

I love a soup mix – the glorious combo of lentils, beans and other grains makes for such a "good for you" soup base. The key here is building the flavour and using a high-quality Sri Lankan curry powder. If you can't find this, you may want to add standard curry powder with a little bit more cumin and chilli, as the Sri Lankan curry powder tends to have a spicier heat profile that is excellent for this soup.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 small head of fennel, finely chopped

2 tbsp Sri Lankan curry powder

1½ tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp tomato paste

10cm-piece ginger, finely grated

1 cup soup mix* (store-bought packet mix of lentils, beans and split peas), soaked overnight

400g can crushed tomatoes

1L (4 cups) vegetable (or chicken) stock

coconut yoghurt, to serve

dried chilli flakes (optional), to serve


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and fennel. Reduce heat to low and sweat for 5-10 minutes or until the onion looks pale and translucent. Stir regularly to prevent catching. Add the curry powder, turmeric and tomato paste and ginger and cook for another minute or until the onion mixture is evenly coated in the paste and spices.

2. Add the soup mix and cook, stirring until beans and grains are coated. Pour over the tomatoes and stock. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for a minimum of 45 minutes, or until the soup mix is cooked through and tender*. If your soup evaporates too quickly and seems too chunky, just add more stock to thin it out to your desired consistency.

3. Pour into serving bowls and serve with coconut yoghurt and a few extra chilli flakes, if using.

*Note: You can use any soup mix of legumes for this recipe, just allow yourself time as the cooking time can really vary – anywhere from 45 minutes up to 3 hours depending on seasonal varieties in the mix you use. It doesn't require much attention at the stove but it may require extra time.