Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup
This Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup is full of feel-good veggies, ground chicken and aromatic Thai green curry flavors! It’s easy to make in one pot and is a wholesome and satisfying meal. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free and customizable with your favorite protein and veggies.
Easy to make in one pot, full of veggies, chicken, aromatic herbs and a spicy Thai green curry broth! This Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup is a delicious and satisfying meal on any night of the week and is SO flavorful!
After sharing my Thai red curry lentil soup, I knew I had to make a green curry version. So here we are today with a hearty green curry soup with green lentils!
Here’s what we have going on:
- Green lentils. Rich in protein, fiber and several vitamins and minerals, green lentils hold their shape after simmering but still become tender to the bite. They’re delicious in the Thai green curry broth!
- Ground chicken. Adds more protein to the soup and makes it super filling and satiating.
- Wholesome veggies. An all-star combination of red onion, sweet potatoes, carrots, shelled edamame and baby spinach. YUM TOWN for all my veggie lovers!
- Aromatic Thai green curry paste. The curry paste is beautifully spiced and flavor-packed. It’s what sets this soup apart from other green lentil soups!
- Lite Coconut Milk. Adds a touch of creaminess without the extra calories that comes from full fat coconut milk.
- Thai sweet basil and makrut lime leaves. They both make this soup intoxicatingly fragrant with alluring anise-like and citrusy aromas.
This soup is actually more like a chunky stew and it’s super cozy and filling. It’s also loaded with protein from the chicken, green lentils and edamame. Sweet potatoes and lentils make it high fiber too and rich in potassium, folate, and iron.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy and straightforward to make. It’s ready in 45 minutes once you’ve prepped all the ingredients and a breeze to whip up thanks to using store-bought green curry paste. It’s also a mostly dump-stir-and-simmer type of soup and doesn’t require a lot of active cooking time.
- One pot. All you need is a large Dutch oven or stockpot!
- Meal prep and freezer-friendly. Make a batch on a Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. Or freeze and thaw individual portions to enjoy whenever you like!
- Nutrient dense and DELICIOUS! It’s full of fiber and protein thanks to all the veggies and chicken and is a hearty, tasty and satisfying meal.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutes
- Green Lentils: You can use whole green lentils or brown lentils for this soup. Avoid using puy lentils (French green lentils) though as they take a much longer time to cook. In contrast to red split lentils which I used in my Thai red curry lentil soup, whole green and brown lentils take more time to cook and become tender because the husks have not been removed. They will retain their shape after cooking but become tender to the bite.
- Ground Chicken: I love using lean ground chicken for convenience and ease as you don’t have to chop up whole cuts of chicken. (See ‘Variations’ section below for other protein options.)
- Veggies: Red onion (or use yellow or white onion), carrots, sweet potatoes (any kind you love), frozen shelled edamame and baby spinach make this a hearty and healthy soup that is nutrient dense and high in protein.
- Aromatics: Garlic, ginger and fresh red chilies. I used Thai Bird’s Eye fresh chilies, but any small hot red or green chilies will work. Use more or less chilies based on your heat level preference.
- Makrut Lime Leaves: These are also known as kaffir lime leaves. This Thai herb has a citrusy and fragrant aroma and is often used in Thai curries. Traditionally they are torn and thrown in to release their flavors into a curry or soup and then discarded at the end. However, I like to destem and mince the leaves into a fine powder instead. Look for them in a Thai grocery store or you can substitute with the ground dried version.
- Thai Green Curry Paste: I use Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste in my home because I love the authentic and spicy flavors it boasts. Other good brands are Maesri and Nam Jai. If you prefer a milder curry paste, De Siam and Thai Kitchen are both flavorful and good options. Find Thai green curry paste in large mainstream supermarkets, Thai and Asian grocery stores, or purchase it online.
- Thai Sweet Basil Leaves: Known as ‘horapa’ in Thai, this type of basil has an intoxicatingly fragrant aroma and sweet anise-like flavor. It’s delicious in Thai curries like Thai panang chicken curry and choo chee salmon curry, and also in stir-fries such as Thai eggplant stir-fry, Thai eggplant noodles, and also Thai red curry fried rice. It adds a lovely flavor at the end to this Thai green curry lentil soup. Find it in a Thai grocery store or Asian supermarket. Or use regular Italian basil in a pinch.
- Chicken Broth: If using low sodium or unsalted chicken broth, you can add more salt to taste.
- Lite Coconut Milk: To add a touch of creaminess without adding too many calories. You are welcome to use a full-fat coconut milk for a creamier and richer broth.
- Seasonings & Spices: Kosher salt, ground cayenne and Thai chili powder for heat. Thai chili powder is a combination of chili powder, flakes, and seeds. You can substitute with crushed red pepper instead. Feel free to leave out the cayenne and Thai chili powder if you prefer a milder broth.
- Fish Sauce: Added at the end for some final savory umami notes. Substitute with low sodium light soy sauce if preferred.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup
1. Cook the chicken. Use a large Dutch oven or stockpot to cook the chicken in a little oil until just cooked. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
2. Sauté the veggies. Heat a little more oil in the pot and sauté the red onion, carrots and sweet potatoes until slightly softened. Then add the garlic, red chilies and ginger and sauté to combine until fragrant.
3. Add the green curry paste. Stir-fry to combine until the paste has broken down and is fragrant.
4. Build the soup. Add the green lentils, chicken broth, water, minced makrut lime leaves, and stir in all of the spices and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add the cooked chicken, coconut milk and edamame. Cover and simmer again for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.
6. Stir in the fish sauce and greens. Season with the fish sauce and stir in the baby spinach and Thai sweet basil leaves until just wilted. Switch off the heat.
Serve! Divide evenly into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander and sliced chili if desired. You can enjoy it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top and crusty bread for dunking if you like.
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Thicken the soup. If you’d like a thicker and creamier broth, after simmering for 30 minutes in step 5, transfer 2 cups of the soup to a high-speed blender and blend. Then transfer back into the pot. Alternatively, use a handheld stick blender and briefly run it through the for soup for 2-3 whizzes to thicken it.
- Adjust simmer time as needed. Different lentil varieties may take a shorter or longer time to become tender. Adjust simmering time as needed. My green lentils take 35-45 minutes on average to soften.
- Soak the lentils overnight. This will reduce the simmering time to about 20 minutes and make them soften quicker.
- Adjust curry paste amount to your spice level preference. If you’re new to cooking with Thai green curry paste or sensitive to heat, I recommend using half the recommended amount first. You can always stir in more if you feel spice and flavor is lacking after tasting the broth.
The best way to know is to taste them. They should be tender but somewhat firm and still retain their shape once cooked. If you prefer them to be softer, simmer for an extra few minutes until they reach your desired consistency.
Yes! This green lentil soup freezes beautifully. Once completely cool, transfer to airtight sealed freezer-friendly containers. I recommend freezing individual servings in small containers so that you thaw only what you need. For extra protection against freezer burn, wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring once in between, or until hot throughout.
This soup is a hearty and filling meal on its own, but crusty bread for dunking or steamed white or brown rice would be tasty with it too.
- Switch up the veggies. Feel free to use yellow or white onion or shallots instead of red onion. You can also use baby kale or chopped lacinato kale instead of baby spinach if you prefer. If you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, use russet potatoes or any other type of potatoes you love, butternut squash, or pumpkin. Some other veggies that you may enjoy in this soup are green peas, green beans, celery and turnips.
- Use full fat coconut milk. For a more creamy and richer texture, use full fat coconut milk instead of lite coconut milk.
- Make it vegetarian. Use a plant-based ground meat substitute such as Quorn Meatless Grounds, Beyond Beef, OmniPork, or Impossible Meat. Make sure that the Thai curry paste you’re using is vegetarian and does not contain any shrimp paste. Also, use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.
- Use a different ground meat. Lean ground beef, turkey, pork or sausage would taste great. If using pork or sausage, after cooking and transferring to a clean bowl, drain out all the fat released except for 1 tablespoon. You can use it to cook the soup instead of olive oil for more flavor.
- Use store-bought rotisserie chicken or shredded leftover chicken. This will help shave off a few minutes from the cooking time. You’ll need about 2.5 cups of shredded chicken and you can add it to the pot when you would’ve added the cooked ground chicken back in.
- Use less lentils. For a less chunky soup, use ¾-1 cup instead of 1.5 cups of green lentils.
More Thai Soups and Curries
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Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup
Made with feel-good veggies, ground chicken and aromatic green curry paste, this one-pot Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup is a delicious and wholesome meal!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: Thai
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 270 grams / 1.5 cups whole Green Lentils (or use brown lentils)
- 230 grams / 1 medium Red Onion – finely chopped
- 25 grams / 6 Garlic cloves – minced
- 50 grams / 2-16 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any other small hot red chilies – note 1*), to taste – finely chopped
- 16 grams / 1-inch piece Ginger – peeled, minced (about 2 tablespoons minced)
- 290 grams / 4-5 small Carrots – peeled, diced
- 500 grams / 17.6 ounces (2 medium) Sweet Potatoes – peeled, diced (weight is for peeled potatoes)
- 4 Makrut Lime Leaves (note 2) – destemmed, minced into a fine powder
- 100 grams / 3 cups Baby Spinach, washed
- 24 grams / 1.5 cups Thai Sweet Basil Leaves (note 3) – picked off stems, washed, pat-dried
- 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other neutral flavored cooking oil), divided
- 570 grams / 1.25 pounds Lean Ground Chicken
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt, divided (use half the amount if using iodized table salt)
- 60 grams / 4 TBLS Thai Green Curry Paste (I use Mae Ploy brand – note 4)
- 946ml / 4 cups Chicken Broth (adjust salt to taste if using low sodium chicken broth)
- 355ml / 1.5 cups Water
- 400ml / 14 fluid ounces Lite Coconut Milk (or use full fat for a richer flavor)
- 1 TSP ground Cayenne (optional), to taste
- 1 TSP Thai Chili Powder (optional – note 5), to taste
- 150 grams / 1 cup Frozen Shelled Edamame
- ½ TBLS Fish Sauce, to taste
- To Serve (optional): Chopped coriander (cilantro), sliced red chili, lime wedges for squeezing, crusty bread for dunking
- Prepare the ingredients: Place the green lentils in a fine mesh strainer and pick through for stones and sticks. Rinse well under cold water from the sink and set aside. Chop the red onion, garlic, chilies, ginger, carrots, sweet potatoes, makrut lime leaves, baby spinach and Thai sweet basil leaves as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section.
For the Thai Green Curry Lentil Soup:
- Cook the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the ground chicken and season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon or meat masher until just cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
- Sauté the veggies: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add the red onion, carrots and sweet potatoes and sauté for 4-5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic, red chilies and ginger and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the green curry paste: Add the Thai green curry paste and stir-fry to combine until the paste has broken down and is fragrant.
- Build the soup: Add the green lentils, chicken broth, water, minced makrut lime leaves, remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ground cayenne and Thai chili powder (if using). Stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Simmer: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes (note 6).
- Stir in the chicken and coconut milk: Uncover and add the lite coconut milk, cooked ground chicken and edamame. Cover and simmer again for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.
- Stir in the fish sauce and greens: Season with the fish sauce and add the baby spinach and Thai sweet basil leaves. Stir until just wilted – 20-30 seconds. Taste and add more fish sauce or kosher salt if you feel it’s needed and a little water if would like to adjust the consistency. Switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Divide evenly into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander and sliced chili. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing and crusty bread for dunking if desired.
- Fresh Red Chilies. Any small hot red or green chilies will work. Use more or less chilies based on your heat level preference.
- Makrut Lime Leaves. Also known as kaffir lime leaves, this Thai herb has a citrusy and fragrant aroma. Look for them in a Thai grocery store or substitute with ½ tablespoon of the ground dried version. Dried ground kaffir lime leaves can be found in the spices and seasonings section or the Asian aisle in supermarkets that are well-stocked with international ingredients.
- Thai Sweet Basil Leaves. Known as ‘horapa’ in Thai, this type of basil has an intoxicatingly fragrant aroma and sweet anise-like flavor. It’s delicious in Thai curries and stir-fries.Find it in a Thai grocery store or Asian supermarket. Or use regular Italian basil in a pinch.
- Thai Green Curry Paste. I use Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste in my home because I love the authentic and spicy flavors it has. Other good brands are Maesri and Nam Jai. If you prefer a milder curry paste, De Siam and Thai Kitchen are both flavorful and good options. You can find green curry paste in large mainstream supermarkets, Thai and Asian grocery stores, or purchase it online.
- Thai Chili Powder. This is a combination of chili powder, flakes, and seeds. You can substitute with crushed red pepper instead. Feel free to leave it and the ground cayenne out if you prefer a milder soup.
- To thicken the soup. If you’d like a thicker and creamier broth, after simmering for 30 minutes in step 5, transfer 2 cups of the soup to a high-speed blender and blend. Then transfer back into the pot. Alternatively, use a handheld stick blender and briefly run it through the for soup for 2-3 whizzes to thicken it. Proceed with the remaining steps as indicated.
- Storing and reheating leftovers. Store in airtight sealed containers for 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring once in between, or until hot throughout.
- To freeze. Once completely cool, transfer to airtight sealed freezer-friendly containers. I recommend freezing individual servings in small containers so that you thaw only what you need. For extra protection against freezer burn, wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring once in between, or until hot throughout.
- See ‘Variations’ section in the post to customize this soup.
- Recipe inspired by my Thai red curry lentil soup and Bon Appetit.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 535
- Sugar: 10.7
- Sodium: 1581.8
- Fat: 20.1
- Saturated Fat: 6.9
- Unsaturated Fat: 9.3
- Trans Fat: 0.1
- Carbohydrates: 58.7
- Fiber: 12.6
- Protein: 35
- Cholesterol: 84.5
Keywords: Thai green curry lentil soup, green curry lentil soup, green Thai curry lentil soup
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