Mediterranean Lentil Soup

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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 a budget-friendly one to boot!

Ingredients for a lentil soup on a table.

Lentil Soup Ingredients

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

  • Lentils: Green or brown lentils work best in this soup as they hold their shape better than red lentils.
  • Mirepoix Vegetables: Chopped celery, carrots, onions and garlic are the classics that provide cozy flavor.
  • Roasted Tomatoes: While you can use regular diced tomatoes, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes really elevates the soup and adds a hint of smokiness.
  • Tomato Paste: This is such a simple ingredient, but it definitely intensify the body of the soup. So don’t leave it off.
  • Kale: I’m using fresh kale in this recipe to amp up the antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients. But feel free to add another leafy green like baby spinach.
  • Herbs: A simple blend of oregano, basil, cumin, and thyme highlights those Mediterranean vibes.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

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 lentil salad as they have the firmest texture, but they require more time to cook in a soup.

How To Make The Best Lentil Soup Recipe

Saute the vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.

Sauteing vegetables in a pot

Infuse with flavor. Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir and toast the spices for 1 to 2 minutes.

Cooking vegetables in a pot

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer. Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Adding in broth into a pot of lentil soup

Blend the soup. Use an immersion blender to spot-blend for a few seconds. This will break up the chunkiness and give the soup a slightly creamier base.

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

Finish with flavor. 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.

Lentil soup with kale

Garnishing Options

Whether you’re serving this soup to guests or enjoying it as a family meal, 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.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • To Freeze: Store this in a freezer-safe container or pour into a silicone freezing tray for pre-made servings. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • For Reheating: If you’re reheating a single serving, pop it in the microwave for a few minutes until warmed through. If you’re reheating an entire batch, it’s easier if you add it back to a pot and warm it up on the stovetop.
A white pot with lentil soup and a spoon in it.

More Fall Soups Recipes

Soups are a winter essential and I think you’ll love these other healthy vegetarian soups! I also have a delicious lemony lentil soup in my cookbook. If you want to add more Mediterranean flair to your weekly meal plan, check out this list of Mediterranean recipes.

If you make this lentil soup recipe, let me know how it turned out! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. Your review will help other readers!

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

Mediterranean Lentil Soup

4.92 from 203 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This lentil soup is hearty, healthy, and loaded with roasted tomatoes, mirepoix vegetables, and delicious Mediterranean flavors. The perfect cold-weather meal. Watch how I make it in the video below!

Video

Equipment

  • Immersion Blender This is my favorite immersion blender and it's super powerful!
  • Dutch Oven A solid cast iron pot is an essential for soups and stews.

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Saute the vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and stir for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
    Sauteeing onions, celery, and carrots for a lentil soup in a pot.
  • Infuse with flavor. Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir and toast the spices for 1 to 2 minutes.
    Adding spices into a pot for lentil soup.
  • Simmer. Add the diced tomatoes, broth, and lentils and stir together. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover with a lid, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Adding lentils into a pot of lentil soup.
  • Blend. 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.
  • Finish with flavor. 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 910mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 10349IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 254mg | Iron: 7mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: lentil soup, lentil soup recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted November 2020, but updated to include new information.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




442 Comments

      1. Thanks Lisa.

        I made it without the kale and it was absolutely delicious. What a hearty meal that did not feel like your body was weighed down. I’ll definitely enjoy the frozen leftovers. Yum 😁.

        Thanks, Liz5 stars

  1. Lisa, Your recipes are so good. I just made your Mediterranean Lentil soup recipe, excellent. Your recipes are easy to follow and to understand. I appreciate that very much. I’m about to make your Tuna Salad recipe and I have tried others, they are very good.
    Thank you so much,
    Marlene5 stars

  2. This is absolutely the best lentil soup that I have ever made. My Sicilian husband who grew up on lentils agrees! Initially, I did not have the tomato paste so skipped it and have never used it in the soup and I have made this recipe several times! A TOTAL WINNER!5 stars

  3. I was really looking forward to this recipe and made it exactly as directed but used diced tomatoes, not fire roasted, and added a pinch of chile flakes. Unfortunately the soup is way too acidic. Do you have any suggestions for that?

    Thanks,
    Nicole3 stars

  4. I made this today and it is so delicious, my hubby who is not a fan of lentils, loved this soup. Lisa, you are the bomb.5 stars

  5. This soup is great! I love the taste and fact that it takes so little time to make. I love Lisa’s recipes, they are healthy, easy to follow and for most recipes I already have the ingredients on hand.

    1. Hi Maggie – Happy to hear you’re loving this lentil soup amongst many other recipes across the site!

  6. I made this soup and it turned out delicious. I added one small zucchini and turn out well. thanks for sharing this recipes.5 stars

  7. The very best lentil soup! Love to make big batches to store in the freezer for busy days, have also made this recently for one of my friends that got sick and everyone in her house loved it! Even a very picky 4 year-old. Thanks for sharing :)5 stars

  8. I made this the other night and it is an absolutely delicious and hearty recipe. I forgot to do the immersion blender but it didn’t matter. It was a great texture. Someone could also easily add meat if they wanted, but definitely not necessary. The lemon was the kicker… I added the juice from one fresh meyer lemon which gives it such a vibrant and bright flavor. I will make this again and recommend to others. Thanks for the recipe : )))5 stars

  9. So easy, such great flavor. The fresh lemon juice at the end definitely elevated the flavor, don’t skip it and be sure to use fresh lemon. Juice. Thank you for all your incredible recipes. I love your cook book as well!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Shannon – Happy to hear you love this lentil soup! And yes, don’t skip the lemon. It makes all the difference!

  10. Hi Lisa, thank you so much for this wonderfully tasty recipe. I didn’t blend mine and I only had one tin of tomatoes but It was still delicious and so healthy. A fantastic winter warner. X 🥰5 stars

  11. Can you please tell me what would be a good substitution for Coriander should one have the “coriander gene”?

  12. The flavor is spot on. I used red lentils (that’s what I had on hand) and the soup was a bit thicker without even blending it. Simultaneously hearty and bright. I paired it with your chicken souvlaki over arugula salad for an easy, delicious Mediterranean feast. Will definitely be making again!5 stars

  13. Sorry, am I mistaken or the picture that is featured for this recipe is actually with chickpeas rather than lentils?

    1. Hi Masha – The little bits in the soup are the rest of the ingredients, such as carrots, celery, and onions.

  14. Lisa might say this, but I so agree: This is, without a doubt, the best lentil soup I have ever fixed. Proof, you ask? I have fixed this soup for company 3 times and each time my guests want the recipe. Look no further for a real winner winter soup!5 stars

    1. Olive oil is high in calories and there is 1/4 cup in the recipe. I would sub for water or vege broth to lower the calories. Everything else is perfect in this recipe.

  15. Love this recipe! It’s very hearty on its own, but sometimes I add a boost of sausage if I need extra protein. I have yet to be disappointed with one of the recipes from this sight.5 stars

  16. I did make this soup and it is so good. I shared it with my brother and his wife and they asked for the recipe. I think I will add an additional cup of Lentils the next time I make it.
    Thank you for this delicious soup recipe!5 stars

  17. Another winner l made a doubled batch. l didn’t double the cumin as l find it to be a strong spice. I didn’t use kale as my family doesn’t like it. I substituted for spinach.5 stars

  18. Hi Lisa,
    I tried your M. Lentil soup and it was really easy to make. I enjoyed mine with sour dough bread. I will be making this again for sure. Thank you!

  19. Lisa, you made my day with your Metertian Lental soup with the wholesome ingredients added to taste bright and fulling. I like the ideal no meat involved instead your veggies is excellent choices5 stars

    1. So, I randomly bought fire roasted tomatoes for the pantry the other day. Then I saw your recipe. It was fantastic! Surprised my teacher wife when she got home from school with some soul warming soup. I used chicken stock (no water) and spinach because that’s what was in the pantry. Kim coincidentally brought home some tasty sourdough bread and she had teacher Christmas gifts of specialty olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and spices. We added all that to complete the dinner and OH MY!!! Capped it off with some delicious Cabernet. Thank you for helping me score major husband points.
      Merry Christmas 🎄 Mark, Kim, and Rollo 🐶5 stars

      1. Hi Mark – What a great meal to surprise her with! I’m glad you two enjoyed this lentil soup.