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Quick and delicious red lentil soup that is infused with ginger, garlic, and tamarind! This plant-based comforting soup has the perfect balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy! Just 45 minutes, one pot, and 10 ingredients are required!

1-Pot Sweet & Sour Red Lentil Soup topped with cilantro.

Because most red lentil soups rely on the use of a ton of spices, I challenged myself to make one that doesn’t require any at all while still being super flavorful.

Challenge completed with this sweet, sour, and a bit spicy lentil soup! It requires just 10 ingredients, one-pot, and less than one hour to prepare!

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • It’s fuss-free and takes just 45 minutes to prepare: all you have to do is sauté the aromatics, add the lentils and seasonings, cover with water, and let simmer. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
  • It’s packed with flavor: think sweet, salty, sour, and slightly spicy. This soup is super flavorful and so comforting!
  • It’s a readers’ favorite! Teresa said: “Highly recommend doubling this recipe! Love the combination of sweet, tangy, & spicy. Will add this to my regular rotation for sure!” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ingredients like red lentils, tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger, and tamarind.

🥣 How to Make This Sweet & Sour Lentil Soup

Here is what you will need:

  • Red lentils – Use split red lentils, not the whole ones. Split red lentils cook faster and are perfect for dals and soups.
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger not only brings a citrusy flavor, but it also adds some freshness and a subtle peppery flavor to the soup.
  • Tomatoes – Preferably fresh and ripe tomatoes.
  • Soy sauce – For saltiness and umami. To make this recipe gluten-free, use coconut aminos.
  • Maple syrup – To balance with the sourness and spiciness. If you don’t have maple syrup on hand, feel free to use agave syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Tamarind paste – The sourness of this soup comes from tamarind paste. You can find this condiment online, or in most Asian/Indian grocery stores.
  • Lime – For extra sourness!

Start by sautéing the aromatics: onion, garlic, and ginger in a large pot for a few minutes or until the onions start to caramelize.

Next, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.

Sautéed onions, garlic, and ginger in a pot.

Add the red lentils, water, soy sauce for saltiness and maple syrup for sweetness. Bring to a boil and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and fully cooked.

Stirring tamarind in hot water to make tamarind juice.

The sourness comes mainly from tamarind juice which also adds sweetness to the soup. To make tamarind juice, soak about two tablespoons of tamarind paste (the one I use has seeds in it as well) in hot water for a few minutes before straining. Then add the juice to the soup and stir to combine.

To finish, add a squeeze of lime juice for some freshness, and our lentil soup is ready!

Sweet and sour red lentil soup in a pot.


Is this lentil soup spicy?

If using 1 whole small Thai chili, it is mildly spicy. Feel free to omit it if you don’t want any spiciness.

What to serve with this soup?

You can serve it as is, or with crusty bread, white rice, quinoa, farro, or even noodles on the side!

How long does this soup keep?

This red lentil soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Close-up of sweet and sour lentil soup.

I like to serve this lentil soup topped with a drizzle of vegan coconut yogurt and some chopped cilantro. This sweet and sour soup is perfect for fall and winter days when you are looking for a comforting, nutritious, and flavorful meal!

🍛 More Lentil Recipes

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Update August 2022: Recipe has been updated with a more detailed post and new photos.

1-Pot Sweet & Sour Red Lentil Soup
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1-Pot Sweet & Sour Red Lentil Soup

1-Pot Sweet & Sour Red Lentil Soup

5 from 7 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Easy, 1-pot, 10-ingredient red lentil soup that is sweet, spicy, and a bit sour! Flavored with garlic, ginger, onion, and tamarind!
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cook Time : 40 minutes
Total Time : 45 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 378 kcal


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1- inch ginger peeled and minced
  • 2 tomatoes finely diced
  • 1 small chili Use two if you like it spicy, finely sliced
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 and 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and sautée for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and saucy. Add the sliced chili and stir to combine.
  • Next, add the red lentils, water, soy sauce, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes. The lentils must be tender.
  • In the meantime, prepare the tamarind juice. In a small bowl, stir together the tamarind paste with the warm water. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before straining to keep only the juice.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, stir in the tamarind juice and lime juice.
  • Serve with a dollop of vegan yogurt or coconut milk, and chopped cilantro! This lentil soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 378 kcal | Carbohydrates: 65 g | Protein: 19.1 g | Fat: 5.5 g | Fiber: 21.5 g | Sugar: 21 g
Course : Entree, Main Course
Cuisine : American, Indian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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I made this last night and it was amazing! The depth of flavor was great and so quick and easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe in your email.

Can I use lemon juice instead of lime? 🙏🏻

5 stars
Can you use any kind of chilli powder instead of a chili?

5 stars
This was the best lentil soup I have ever made! Great recipe, highly recommend it. So much flavor. Very happy to have found your blog Thomas!

I agree Louise! This is definitely one of my favorite soups ever!

Great recipe❤️ Full of tastes

5 stars
I eat this all the time, I absolutely love the combination and experience of flavours.
Your recipes are fantastic, you are my fave source of recipes!

5 stars
I LOVE IT! The best lentil soup recipe that I’ve ever tried!

5 stars
Highly recommend doubling this recipe! Love the combination of sweet, tangy, & spicy(I used 2 small chili peppers). Will add this to my regular rotation for sure!

5 stars
Just took my own advice and doubled this recipe! It freezes very well and I love having it on hand for lunches at work.

5 stars
I must try this. Looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.