Coconut Plantain Soup

Coconut Plantain Soup {Gluten-Free, Vegetarian} | Wheat-Free Meat-Free

There are not one, but two events this month featuring coconut as the star ingredient. Healing Foods is being hosted by Saffron Streaks, and Veggie/Fruit a Month returns to its home base at Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about this ingredient. While I’ve used coconut milk plenty of times, I haven’t done much cooking with actual coconut. While each event said cooking with any form of coconut–coconut milk included–would count, I felt that was kind of cheating. I was going to use actual coconut. And not for dessert, for a “real food.” So I went with the simplest thing I could think of, which is soup, because soup is pretty hard to mess up. ;)

Coconut Plantain Soup

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper (orange, yellow, or red), chopped
  • 1 large plantain, sliced into quarters lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch segments
  • 1 cup diced coconut meat or unsweetened coconut flakes/chips
  • 1/2 cup masoor dal
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the oil. Once melted add the onions. Cook for a few minutes until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, partially covered, for around 45 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust for seasoning and serve.

Serves 4-6

I did indeed buy a whole coconut and dig out the coconut meat. (Well really, I bought the coconut, and Mike dug out the coconut meat.) I’ve seen many recipe writers call for unsweetened coconut flakes, but I have yet to come across them. If you can find them, I imagine they’re a lot easier to work with than chopping up a whole coconut. (That’s just my guess.)

Masoor dal are split red lentils. They cook pretty quickly. Here they’re used as a thickener. If you can’t find them, you can try yellow split peas or even plain brown lentils. Make sure to give the soup a good stir every now and then to help break down the lentils.

As we learned with the fried plantains, plantains are a good potato substitute. They’re a bit sweeter, but they are starchy like potatoes. It stands to reason that the exchange works the other way as well. If you can’t find a plantain, use a medium-large starchy potato, like a russet.

I’m also sharing this recipe in Hearth and Soul HopThese Chicks Cooked, Full Plate Thursday, and Wellness Weekend.

Looking for More Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes?

Take a look at my book, The Wheat-Free Meat-Free Cookbook: 100 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.

A sampling of the recipes included:
  • Breakfasts: Cinnamon Quinoa Muffins, Yeasted Waffles, Gooey Butter Cake,
  • Sides: Patatas Bravas, Pea and New Potato Salad, Braised Celery,
  • Mains: Corn Waffle Sandwiches, Enchiladas with Green Sauce, Pesto Asparagus Galette, and
  • Desserts: Blueberry Mango Crisp, Baklava Rolls, Amaretto Cake.

You can see the full recipe list on the Amazon page.


  1. There are unsweetened coconut flakes in my cabinet. I bought them to, umm, make soup, just like you. They’re from “Let’s Do Organic” and have 40% less fat than coconut straight out of the coconut. I probably found them at Dierbergs . . .not nearly as much fun as pretending you’re in Hawaii working with a coconut right off the tree! Does Mike know about whacking the coconut right between the “eyes” to make it crack open easily?

  2. Darn, guess I just needed to ask. I’ve looked in three different stores, but they were all Schnucks, so that might be the problem. I need to remember to look when I’m at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

    The coconut we had was a “Groovy Coconut.” It had a groove cut around the middle. It wasn’t very helpful though. We hammered half of the Super Shears into one eye so we could drain it. Then we ended up wrapping the whole thing in a towel and whacking it until it cracked. Honestly I think the most tedious part was separating the meat from the shell. I guess it’s fun to do every now and then.

  3. Oh my word! this soup sounds amazing!!!!! I kind of like the splitting the coconut part. i usually throw it down on the cement like a mad woman. What a great creation. Brilliant.

  4. I love plantains, but would never have thought to use them in soup! I’m going to be hosting a blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, starting this Sunday. I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here’s a link with more info.

    I hope to see you there!

  5. This looks and sounds delicious! This dish , ‘soup’ is familiar to us; we have something similar in Kerala cuisine. For many of us from South India, particularly Kerala, Coconut is an integral part of our lives: ever part of the tree and every stage of the coconut is utilized. These days we find a variety of newer coconut products: frozen grated coconut, dessicated coconut and fine coconut powder [ to be used as coconut milk , are some of them. Indian Grocery stores, catering to a South Indian population will definitely carry these.

  6. this coconut and plantain soup is absolutely new to me, never thought of mixing the two in a soup. and it looks so delish..
    thank you so much for sending it to healing foods event

  7. This soup looks amazing! It has been years since I bought a whole coconut, but it might be fun!

  8. Looks amazing! I have to get some coconut meat into my life! :) Thanks for submitting to WW this week.

  9. @France: Ha, maybe I’ll have to try that next time. Although we do live in an apartment building so the neighbors might think I’m a bit crazy if I’m out back throwing a coconut on the ground.

    @Shri: There is a great international import food store in my neighborhood. I didn’t think of looking there, but it might be my best chance. Great idea.

  10. What a beautiful soup so full of flavor and color. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. This is the most original soup recipe I have ever seen. It looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  12. Clicked in here from Priya’s blog seeing this wonderful soup. I would love to make this soup for dinner very soon. Read the story of you whacking the coconut and that is making me laugh :) It needs a lil practice and you can do it in a jiffy :)

  13. @Sangeeta: Ha, practice makes perfect I suppose.

  14. How do you think this recipe would fare without the lentils (or peas)? Just curious because it sounds amazing but I am going to be trying the Whole30 and legumes (and seeds) are to be excluded for 30 days. I’m trying to build up a stockpile of recipes for it and would love to add this one!

    • Should be fine. As I said above, they’re used as a thickener. The soup might be a bit “soupier” but I don’t think it’s going to be a big change. You could use a little less water to offset their removal.

  15. Navinchaitanya says

    Followed your recipe except that I used coconut grated instead of coconut milk and green bell pepper as well as pepper to give it a zing thnx

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