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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Best Ever Chili
- Poached Chicken And Winter Vegetable Soup
- Sweet Potato Soup
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.
Very Best Lentil Soup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, small diced
- 2 carrots, small diced
- 2 celery stalks, small diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 to 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
- 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup green or brown lentils
- 3 leaves kale, stemmed and sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 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.
- Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, dried spices, salt and pepper. Stir and toast the spices for 2 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Made this recipe for my 98 year old father in law, who had never eaten lentils before (that he could recall); the only variation was that I used spinach for the kale. He was pleased that there were leftovers for me to leave with him!
Oh yay, happy your father-in-law loved the recipe Diane!
This has been come our Friday Lenten dinner dish! So easy! So tasty! I never knew Lentils could taste this good. No meat on Fridays ain’t so bad anymore! Thanks Lisa!
Glad this recipe changed your mind about lentils :)
My husband and my adult sons loved this soup. I’m always trying new recipes and they all agreed that this one was a definite keeper. I used the frozen chopped spinach and added a can of garbanzo beans that another reader mentioned using. My son that loves cooking is already planning to add some jalapeños next time.
I simply LOVE this soup. Its now a staple. I know I can always trust your recipes!
Thanks so much Angela! I’m happy you loved the recipe. :)
I enjoyed this soup with bread for dipping. It definitely has a Mediterranean flavor profile. I will be freezing a few portions for quick meals during the next snowstorms!
I added a can of white northern beans that I had in the pantry.
This is definitely my go to lentil soup recipe, I have made this a dozen times ….it is -20 Celsius here…perfect for this soup….it truly is the very best lentil soup…thank you for sharing this wonderfully delicious recipe
Glad you’re loving this soup!
You know these comments, when people change the entire recipe and then complain the recipe didn’t work and give you a bad rating…. In any case: I had to alter a few things but still the soup turned out so nicely and I just absolutely love it. I will make it more often. Thank you so much!
H what is the serving size? 1 cup 2cups? How do you calculate that?
The serving size is about 2 cups for this recipe.
I made this recipe on a cold winter’s day and found it delicious. I FINALLY like lentils. The instructions were easy to follow. It made a sufficient quantity to freeze several 2 cup portions so I am rich! I have been buying the fire roasted tomatoes whenever cans are available in my grocery store and it was nice to see confirmation that they are worth watching for replenished stock.
I’m glad this recipe made you change your mind about lentils Judy!
Thumbs up from the fam! Delicious, healthy, and fresh.
Lovely soup, one of my faves. Usually substitute frozen spinach for the kale for convenience and works just as well.
This is one of my favorites! After I make chicken/vegetable broth I frequently go to this recipe. I made it for my aunt too, who’s a cook, and she loved it. Thank you.