Very Best Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is a classic vegetarian soup recipe. It’s hearty, healthy, delightfully filling (with plant-based protein), and warming on those cold, wintery days. While there are many variations of lentil soup, you can’t go wrong with a simple, delicious Mediterranean version.

Two bowls of lentil soup on a table next to a napkin.

When it comes to this lentil soup recipe, let’s remember that simple does not equal boring. Oh no, this recipe is anything but that!

It’s packed with rich flavor, it’s hearty enough to be eaten as dinner, and it’s easy enough to whip up with a few pantry staples and fresh vegetables. That’s why it’s the very best.

When I previously showed you how to cook lentils (so they’re not mushy), I also highlighted why lentils are a powerhouse ingredient in vegan and vegetarian meals. They’re high in fiber, carbohydrates, and most importantly, protein. That means this lentil soup is not just an appetizer soup, but it’s a satiating full meal. And an economical one to boot.

Lentil soup is hearty (yet light), comforting, satisfying and should definitely be in your regular dinner rotation. Bonus, you can meal prep and freeze it as well!

What’s In This Vegan Lentil Soup

A cup of green lentils goes a long way in this cozy, chunky soup. But it’s really the rest of the ingredients that makes your taste buds dance.

  • Mirepoix Vegetables: Chopped celery, carrots, onions and garlic are the classics that make us feel closest to home.
  • Roasted Tomatoes: A can of fire roasted tomatoes adds a hint of smokiness and lends to this soup’s gorgeous red tone.
  • Tomato Paste: All you need are two tablespoons to intensify the body of the soup.
  • Kale: An easy way to amp up the antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and colors in this soup.
  • Lentils: Green or brown lentils work best in this soup.
  • Earthy Herbs: A blend of cumin, oregano, basil, and thyme embodies that Mediterranean flavor.
  • Liquids: You can use water or broth or a mix of both, which is what I usually do.
  • Lemon: Helps to brighten and balance out the deep flavors.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Ingredients for a lentil soup on a table.

Which Lentils to Use

Green or brown lentils are the best choice for this soup. They have a mild, earthy flavor that slightly breaks apart when cooked, but still maintain their shape. Red lentils break down the fastest and become mushy. And French lentils (also called Lentils de Puy) are great for being tossed in a side dish or lentil salad as they have the firmest texture, but they require more time to cook in a soup.

Vegetables sauteed in a pot for lentil soup.

How To Make The Best Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Sauté the vegetables. In a large soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrots for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and broth. Bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the soup simmer for 25 minutes. Keep the pot partially covered with the lid.
  • Blend it. For a creamier texture, use a Vitamix immersion blender (it’s so powerful!) to spot blend for a few seconds.
  • Add the rest. Stir in the kale, lemon juice, and let it all simmer for 1-2 more minutes. Then taste test to see if you need to add anything else.

Using an immersion blender to spot blend a lentil soup in a pot.

Adding kale into a pot of lentil soup.

Garnishing Options

Whether you’re serving this soup to guests or enjoying as a meal for two, it’s always fun to perk it up a bit.

  • Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle on freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.
  • Crispy Bits: Quickly whip up crispy shallots for added crunch or crumbled bacon bits if you’re not vegan.
  • A Touch Of Creaminess: Drizzle a little coconut cream or sprinkle freshly grated parmesan on top.

Storing And Reheating Leftovers

  • To Store: This will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed storage container.
  • To Freeze: Keep this in a freezer safe container or pour into a silicone freezing tray for pre-made servings. It will last for several months in the freezer.
  • For Reheating: If you’re reheating a single serving, just add it to a bowl and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes until warmed through. But if you’re heating up an entire batch, add it back into a pot and warm it up on the stovetop.

A white pot with lentil soup and a spoon in it.

More Cozy Fall Soups & Stews

It goes without saying that a solid list of soups is a winter essential. And if you’re vegetarian, a few of these recipes can be modified to your liking.

Want more tasty Mediterranean Recipes? Check out this roundup of the Best Mediterranean Recipes. So many options!

Lentil Soup Recipe Video

Easy, one-pot soup recipes are the best! Watch the video below to see how I make this lentil soup.

If you make this recipe, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

A white bowl with lentil soup and a spoon on a table.

Very Best Lentil Soup

4.89 from 104 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 5 cups
Author: Lisa Bryan
This lentil soup is hearty, healthy, and loaded with roasted tomatoes, mirepoix vegetables, and delicious Mediterranean flavors. The perfect cold-weather meal!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, small diced
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 2 celery stalks, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 3 leaves kale, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large pot until it shimmers. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and stir for 5 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent.
    Sauteeing onions, celery, and carrots for a lentil soup in a pot.
  • Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir and toast the spices for 2 minutes.
    Adding spices into a pot for lentil soup.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, broth, and lentils and stir together. Bring that to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
    Adding lentils into a pot of lentil soup.
  • You can keep the soup chunky, or use an immersion blender to create a more creamy texture, by spot blending for just a few seconds.
  • Stir in the kale and lemon juice, and simmer for an additional minute or two to soften the kale. Taste the soup, and add any additional lemon juice, salt, or pepper before serving.
    A big white pot with lentil soup on a table with a serving spoon.

Lisa's Tips

  • Because vegetable broth usually comes in 32 ounce containers (4 cups), I add 4 cups of broth and 2 cups of water to this recipe. Just so I don't have a half used container of broth.
  • You can substitute 3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning for the oregano, basil, and thyme.
  • As the soup sits, the lentils may soak up some of the liquid, thickening up the soup. You can always add more broth or water to thin it out. Or blend it creamier with my favorite Vitamix immersion blender.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 1825mg, Potassium: 951mg, Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 11064IU, Vitamin C: 78mg, Calcium: 209mg, Iron: 7mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: lentil soup, lentil soup recipe
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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This post was generously sponsored by Vitamix. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors and their products I genuinely use and love.

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229 comments on “Very Best Lentil Soup”

  1. So good – especially since it is so cold outside. Makes enough to either freeze or eat all week for lunch! Was very easy and quick to make and beats those canned versions any day. Thanks for all your easy and delicious recipes, my family is getting to know your name!5 stars

  2. What a great soup! Made for dinner last night and enjoyed sooo much. Perfect for an easy dinner night yet still so satisfying and fulfilling. Thanks Lisa!5 stars

  3. How much of each spice

  4. Can this be made in a slow cooker and how do you modify the recipe? Thank you.

    • I haven’t tried this in a slow cooker, but I’m thinking you will cook everything but the kale on high for about 15 minutes. Then once the pressure releases naturally (20 to 30 minutes), stir in the kale.

  5. If you happen to use French lentils instead what would be the difference in cook time?

  6. I added a yam because I wamted to use it up, and topped with some fresh chopped cilantro. Was delish!

  7. Does it matter if the lentils are dry, canned or soaked??

    • It’s best to use dry lentils for this recipe.

    • Followed it almost exactly to the letter (no substitutions, though I will note my onions and garlic were fairly poorly diced) and it led to a wonderful tasting soup with a nice vegetable medley and a great rich tomato flavor to it. Excellent recipe.5 stars

  8. This is the best lentil soup I’ve ever had! I think that no matter what little tweaks are made with this recipe, it’ll be delicious. Instead of kale, I used nasturtium leaves from my yard, and I replaced some of the curry powder with actual curry leaves. I also only used 1 tomato since that’s all I had left. 5 stars

  9. Perfect Fall soup!! I made this with chicken bone broth and water and it was so nourishing. Thanks for the warm spice/herbs addition. The cumin was perfect in this hearty soup. I blended it for about 7 seconds with my immersion blender and it was the right consistency.5 stars

  10. This recipe is amazing, my teen daughter requests this one frequently. We make a double batch every time we make it to have plenty of leftovers. 5 stars

  11. Very nice recipe! Made for a quite flavorful and nutritious vegetarian meal for a couple of nights this week. Thank you so much!5 stars

  12. Bright and full of flavor! I really enjoyed this soup, and like most soups it was even better the next day. It froze and reheated well. This one is a keeper for me!5 stars

  13. My favorite lentil & veg soup!

    This recipe was exactly what I had in mind. Your suggestion to thicken up the soup at the end with an emersion blender was perfect.

    This will definitely become a weekly staple. Next time I’m going to try adding chopped roasted red peppers instead of only fire roasted tomatoes.5 stars

  14. Love this recipe so delicious and easy to make. Has become a regular dish for us. Thanks for sharing

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