Kapha Red Lentil-Lemongrass Soup

Kapha Red Lentil-Lemongrass Soup

It’s so easy to eat healthy when you have red lentils on hand! They cook in minutes, are nourishing to all three doshas, and go well with so many seasonings. Here, I have paired them with a spicy lemongrass paste, which is ideal for balancing kapha in the spring and winter months (or any time the weather is cold and damp).

The combination of ingredients work together to promote overall health and well-being. The pippali powder (also called Piper longum or Indian long pepper) is regarded as a rejuvenating force that supports the respiratory system while soothing the nervous system—great for kapha and vata. During the winter and spring, I sprinkle pippali on everything (instead of black pepper) to boost my immunity and fortify my lungs. Lemongrass helps to cleanse the lymphatic system and calm the body and mind. And of course, turmeric is good for everything. This recipe is already my favorite weeknight meal! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Kapha Red Lentil-Lemongrass Soup

Makes 2 servings

Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free


Lemongrass Paste

Makes ⅔ cup

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • ¼ onion
  • ¼ cup lemongrass (about 2 stalks), ends trimmed, tough outer layers removed
  • 1-inch ginger root, peeled
  • ¾-inch turmeric root, peeled (or ¾ teaspoons turmeric powder)
  • ½ Thai red chili, stem removed
  • 1 small kaffir lime leaf, vein removed (or 1 teaspoon lime zest and ½ teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 2 cloves garlic


  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or ghee)
  • 4 tablespoons lemongrass paste
  • ¼ teaspoon mineral salt
  • 1 teaspoon pippali powder
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled, chopped
  • ⅔ cup red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro (or to taste)


Lemongrass paste 

In a blender, add the sunflower oil, onion, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, chili, lime leaf, and garlic. Blend to a thick paste. (Alternatively, you can do this with a mortar and pestle if you have the time and patience.)

Red Lentil-Lemongrass Soup 

In a medium pan, warm the sunflower oil or ghee over medium-low heat. Add the lemongrass paste, salt, and pippali powder. Sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Stir in the tomato. Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until lentils are soft. The lentils will lose their shape and become somewhat mushy. Add the lime juice and cilantro. For a creamy consistency, you can purée with an immersion blender. Adjust lime juice/cilantro to taste. Serve immediately.


Kapha can garnish with julienned mustard leaves (which will add even more of a kick to this dish!).

Vata and pitta can cool things down with some coconut milk or fresh plain yogurt.


  1. I buy lemongrass stalks and lime leaves at my local Asian market, then freeze extras in freezer bags to make sure I have them on hand when I’m not able to get to the market.
  2. The lemongrass paste can be prepped up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container, which will make life a little easier if you are rushing to get dinner on the table.


 Recipe and images courtesy of Lois Leonhardi, author of The Essential Ayurvedic Cookbook.