Curried Tomato Tortellini Soup
A crowd-pleasing tomato-based tortellini soup, dotted with plump, tender dumplings, spiked with a range of spices, and boosted with plenty of spinach.
This incredible tortellini soup has become a staple in our cooking, let me tell you how it started. I installed the Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app on my phone last year, and it was a real eye opener for a few reasons. The app is actually just a simple checklist of ingredients to incorporate in your daily diet - ideally, every day. Beans, berries, spices, nuts, greens, etc. It's actually not simple. The thing that struck me immediately is the way you need to make every meal (and snack) count if you want to check all the boxes. I found that I needed to have more of a plan than my usual "free-style" approach, as well as an evolved arsenal of go-to recipes. So! The first thing I started doing was incorporating meals that were delicious, satisfying, one-bowl "box-checkers", like this soup.
Tortellini Soup: The Details
This is a fortifying lentil and tomato-based stew, dotted with plump, tender dumplings, spiked with a range of spices, and boosted with plenty of spinach. It's so delicious, and simple, week-night friendly, and great for leftovers. Also, no shame in using frozen spinach, here. It cuts the already minimal prep time here down to near nothing. Same goes for using pre-made tortellini. Enjoy!
There are a bunch of other whole food plant-based "box checker" recipes here as well, and throughout the archives. If you're interested in a vegan version of this recipe simply skip the grated cheese or use one of the increasingly good vegan cheeses now available, and purchase an appropriate tortellini.
If soups are your thing, be sure to browse the archives. No one loves a good one more than me and there are dozens of great soup recipes to be had. Don't miss this lentil soup, this simple tomato soup, or this ribollita.
Curried Tomato Tortellini Soup
For a vegan version, source vegan tortellini. Or if you have trouble finding that, substitute a vegan ravioli!
- 4 big handfuls spinach, chopped (or frozen equiv)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet (or smoked) paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 28- ounce can whole tomatoes, with liquid
- 3/4 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
- 8 ounces / 1/2 pound fresh tortellini
- to serve: a bit of grated cheese, lemon (optional)
If you're using frozen spinach, set it on the counter to thaw a bit. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so, until the onion has softened a bit. Stir in the garlic, wait a minute, then add the curry powder, paprika, turmeric, and chile flakes, and stir well.
Break up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the pot along with the tomato liquid, stir in the lentils, and the water. Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes or so, until the lentils have cooked through. Stir in the salt, and then the tortellini. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or per package instructions - until tender and cooked through. Stir in the spinach bring back to a simmer, and serve with a dusting of cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you need to thin out with a bit more water, do so, and re-season. Enjoy!
Post Your Comment
I made this last night without the chill flakes but a bit more of the other spices and both my toddler and husband loved it. A great pantry meal - thanks!
Made this for the first time tonight and it was delicious! I kicked up the chilis and added cayenne to give it more spice. This makes a huge portion so I was delighted to have tons of leftovers. I served with a dollop of yogurt (as a sub for sour cream) so that was a nice contrast to the spice.
I saw this recipe and thought that I could finally use the TJ's frozen kale gnocchi that's been in my freezer a while. It did work great. Also used a can of Westbrae organic black lentils - because I'm lazy. Otherwise , I followed the recipe and it's delicious - thanks so much!
You're welcome. So happy you enjoyed it!
Heidi, I made this today and it is fabulous! I used smoked paprika and I might try it with sweet next time if you feel it’ll be a totally different experience. I used the instant pot to cook the onion/ lentils/tomatoes/ spices (13 min plus a few mins NPR because I like my lentils mushy) and then used the immersion blender to thin it out just a tiny bit. I used the sauté function to cook the tortellini and added in the spinach and lemon juice at the end. Also, I’ve been making one of your other red lentil soups weekly for my little kids for the past 4 years (since the first was barely 1)! I know this might sound silly but it’s truly been such an meaningful part of my life as a mother!
Awww! Thanks for the sweet note Deepa. Love your technique here, and yes, tweak the paprika any way you think might be delicious. You could even try half & half if you have both kinds.
I made this for dinner for me and my boyfriend tonight, with leftovers for lunch tomorrow (yay!). We have big appetites so I added twice the amount of , and also doubled the spices to give it more kick. Yum! I forgot the lemon at the end but reading all the comments it seems it’s essential so will definitely add for lunch tomorrow!
Yes! Give it the lemon boost - next level ;)...
INCREDIBLE! My husband and I loved this. I can't wait to eat the leftovers for dinner tonight!
This is an easy, go-to one-pot soup. I use an entire large tub of fresh spinach and thin it out with extra water -- it makes a huge batch that I get to enjoy for several days. The squeeze of fresh lemon really this already delicious soup over the top—don't skip this step!
My family have fallen in love with this soup. It's our new favorite, and so simple to make. The first two times I made it I used fresh tortellini. The third time I decided I needed it right away I only had dried Trader Joe's tortellini, which I added along with the lentils -- worked very well. YUM!!!
Great to hear Jennie - and yes, it's one of those hard to mess up, in a pinch, weeknight meals :) xx, -h
Kitchen is being remodeled so I’m cooking everything in the instant pot. Sautéed onion for a few, garlic then spices and salt. Added in tomatoes, lentils and water. High pressure 8 minutes, quick release. Then frozen spinach, ACV instead of lemon and ravioli, residual heat was plenty to cook ravioli, might use sauté function if make with tortellini. Like it. Was a little suspicious of the cheese when I read the recipe but remembered I love paneer. Enjoyed it, thx
I made this tonight, exactly as written, and thought it was a great, super fast weeknight meal using mostly pantry staples. I'd add more spices next time and maybe a handful of parsley or something to brighten it up (though the lemon helps with that). All in all, a great go-to, and I'll be back for more!
This was so satisfying to eat and easy to make. I love how the curry powder and paprika give a more rounded flavor to the tomatoes. This soup will definitely make more appearances in our house. Thanks Heidi!
Just made it for lunch. Gorgeous! I cooked soup in IP and it worked too. Just put all ingredients together in IP and set the timer for 12 minutes, quick release after beep. I used pesto tortellini and a bag of power greens from Trader Joe’s. Thank you for sharing.
HS: Thanks for the note Anastasia - I was concerned the pasta might go too soft. Appreciate the update!
This was so quick and easy and delicious.The flavor profile check all the right boxes, and I really appreciate the lentil protein boost! We will definitely make it again.
Looking forward to making this recipe. Where can I purchase cheese-free tortellini--or what to substitute instead of tortellini? Dr. Greger's information has been an eye opener for me. While going plant-based, I have learned where my issues are and need to watch out for items containing high content of saturated fat. Dairy, cheese, oils, and coconut milk! At times, I use lite coconut milk, but need to resist.
Thumbs up for the addition of curry powder and red lentils here. I love a good tomato tortellini soup but I generally feel it's missing substance. I can tell this one will hit the spot. Thanks Heidi!
Made this for supper tonight... outstanding depth of flavours. Had some homemade spinach three cheese tortellini on hand which complimented the fresh handfuls of spinach perfectly. Loved the combination of red lentils and the spices. There is enough for left overs, which will most likely taste even better tomorrow. This will definitely be a go to recipe. Thanks again for your inspiration Heidi!! Kudos!!!!
HS: Thanks LannY!
We made this for our family this evening and it was a huge hit, even down to our 2 year old! Thank you for helping us to cook something a bit different with tortellini, we often use it for quick meals but it gets boring quickly and now our kids are getting bigger, one pack of tortellini doesn't quite stretch to feed all of us. This recipe was great, really filling with the red lentils, and the curry flavour with a squeeze of lemon was a nice change to the italian sauce we'd normally cook with our tortellini. Thanks for posting this recipe!
HS: Glad it worked out Kat! Love that the whole family was on board. Thanks for the note!
Would you have the timing of this recipe using an Instant Pot? It looks scrumptious!
HS: Hi Paula - I haven't tested it there yet, but if you beat me to it, please report back!
For leftovers...would you recommend storing the cooked tortellini in a separate container and then adding it in when the soup is reheated? Does it get too mushy otherwise?
HS: Hi Tricia - technically yes, that would be a better plan, and I do think about that when I make this, but I never separate them out when I put away the leftovers, and they're just fine. Alternately, if you're thinking ahead, you could add as many tortellini as you know you'll eat that night to the pot, and add more when you reheat!
This looks amazing, looking forward to making it! Question, however, on the lentil choice: Red lentils tend to get rather mushy so I'm wondering if a switch to beluga would be an acceptable substitution?