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 89 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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194 comments on “Very Best Lentil Soup”

  1. We love this lentil soup. Now added some pork as well, it always tastes really good and fulfilling!Thank you!5 stars

  2. easy nutritious 5 stars

  3. Went to recipe after watching Youtube, neither says. Are the lentils meant to be dried or already cooked?

  4. Delicious recipe! I needed to make a quick dinner for the family tonight, and this was perfect! I doubled the recipe and now we have a good bit of leftovers for the weekend. This is definitely one of the better lentil soup recipes I’ve made!5 stars

  5. Made this now a couple of times and it’s so yummy! Definitely a staple in my future Winter Recipes. Thank you.🤗✅👍5 stars

  6. This certainly is the best lentil soup. I also added a cubed potatoe and sweet potato.
    Will it was very thick the next day I used it as a base for wraps, next I’ll try as a pizza base sauce, 
    on toasted sandwiches with cheese or as a topping on roasted potatoes with a little sour cream, or simply with rice.
    5 star plus from my household 5 stars

  7. So very easy, delicious and healthy lentil soup! This soup recipe is definitely a keeper.5 stars

  8. This recipe was very easy to make and super tasty. I felt healthy just making it and eating it. I am trying to convert to more vegetarian/vegan foods and this is definitely one I will come back to. Thanks!5 stars

  9. This soup had so much amazing flavor!! I only ended up adding a pinch of salt to the whole thing since I used the better than bullion veg base. I am blown away by how much flavor is packed into this easy soup. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a delicious meal that can satiate without being too heavy. I served it with some couscous but even just some crusty bread would be good!5 stars

  10. This really is the very best lentil soup ever – and I’ve tasted quite a few in my 68 years. Thank you, Lisa. Your recipes are wonderful and your presentations are lovely. I’m a fan!5 stars

  11. I recently received my lab results and had to make drastic changes. I made this recipe and it was so good. I’m not a fan of veggies or lentils but I was motivated to try it. So happy I did. Can’t wait to try more recipes. I love your you videos. 5 stars

    • I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed this lentil soup and are on your way to a healthier lifestyle Mical :)

  12. Turned out nice. I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes, none sold in any of the supermarkets near me, but I ordered some cans online for the next time. The cook times are way off though, the soup needs at least an hour for the lentils to soften. I skipped the lemon juice, as I used canned chopped tomatoes, which had a bit of tartness anyway, and adding the lemon juice would have made the soup too tart. I also substituted two handfuls of baby spinach leaves (for the kale), which I threw in at the end of the cook, for some color and extra vitamins. I think fresh herbs would have worked probably better, but overall, it turned out quite tasty.4 stars

    • I’m not sure what type of lentils you bought, buy green and brown lentils should be fully cooked and soft after 25-30 minutes. Black lentils and french lentils, which take the longest to cook, are still very soft after about 35 minutes. But I’m glad it all turned out in the end!

  13. Best lentil soup ever! Thank you Lisa for sharing the recipe x5 stars

  14. I made this and both hubby and I LOVED it!5 stars

  15. Do the lentils need to be soaked before adding into the recipe?  If so, for how long?

  16. Absolutely delicious!!5 stars

  17. Absolutely delicious! I made it exactly according to recipe. 5 stars

  18. Best lentil soup.  Lots of flavor!! 5 stars

  19. This was so good!5 stars

  20. I loved this recipe! I did add better than bouillon with water instead of vegetable stock. I have already shared this recipe with my girls. Thank you5 stars

  21. Delicious and easy to make.  Had all the ingredients in the cupboard. Have made it several times. Have now got cabbage soup on the go. Will let you know. Thank you for taking the time to do these videos. I love them. 
    The weather here in England is starting to improve, but will still make the soup even in the warmer sunshine. 5 stars

  22. Talk about a flavourful soup! Thank you for coming up with healthy and wholesome recipes. You are a joy to follow.5 stars

  23. This is very good. Thank you5 stars

  24. I made it once with lentills and once with black beans. It is so yummy.5 stars

  25. Oh lord! This is insanely delicious!!!!! Lisa, you’ve done it again! How did this gem result from such simple ingredients? I didnt have celery stalks, so used a small parsnip instead. It is a ravishing dish ❤️ thank you!5 stars

  26. When I saw the video and read the comments I was intrigued to find out what the hype was about. But this soup is delicious!  I cooked it longer, maybe an hour, because my daughter ran to the store for tomato paste, and when she returned she said “the house smells so good!” Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  27. This is simmering on the stove right now and the smell is heavenly. A high of 19 degrees today and down to zero tonite, so it’s a perfect soup day; and Gluten free bread is baking in the oven. Looking forward to dinner tonite!! Thanks for another great recipe I can add to my favorites. BTW – I love the super cubes; saves a ton of space in my freezer.5 stars

    • Sounds like an amazing dinner for tonight! And I agree, the Souper cubes have been such a lifesaver for all my soups.

  28. This soup was delicious, but I made some changes. I used organic chicken broth, 1 can tomato spout instead of 2 cans of tomatoes, used 1.5 cups of lentils. I felt 1 cup is not enough. Plus I cooked it double the time. I don’t like the vegetables in the soup crunchy. It was amazing. It’s a keeper.5 stars

  29. Indeed the very best lentil soup! Very easy to make and so delicious. Thanks a lot for the recipe, Lisa!5 stars

  30. This was delicious.  I have lots of leftovers so I am definitely going to buy those soup cubes.   I couldn’t find fire roasted tomatoes so I substituted oven baked tomatoes.   I had lots of kale that needed to be eaten so I threw it all in.  Lol.  Super delicious and perfect for these cold winter days here.  Thanks! 5 stars

  31. I just made this soup this morning. Super delicious and simple. I didn’t have kale so I subbed spinach at the last minute. 5 stars

  32. I just made this for the first time. I absolutely loved it thank you so much for sharing.5 stars

  33. What a yummy soup – and I usually hate soups!

    I used leek instead of celery, and savoy cabbage instead of kale, to fit it to my personal liking.

    Also, I don’t eat very large portions so to me this recipe yields 6 portions at less than 300 kcal each.

    This means I now have 5 portions of soup meal prepped 😄5 stars

  34. Absolutely loved the soup. Had three big bowls. I will deffinetly be adding this to my ” go to soups” for winter.
    Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  35. So yum with the lemon juice. My lentils were not soft, but I just cooked longer.  Thank you for sharing the recipe. 5 stars

  36. Loved this soup- so delicious (and my neighbours I shared it with thought so too.)5 stars

  37. The next time I make this, I think I will eliminate the lemon, or at least cut it back to a smaller amount. Perhaps my lemon produced too much juice. I think it was about a half cup at least. I tasted the soup before adding lemon and it was delicious. I wish I had left it at that.4 stars

  38. MY Son since he was little loved simple lentil soup. We have another recipe without the paste and tomatoes, but this put a really different spin on flavor especially with the lemon juice. Well, we made it tonight and there’s so much for tomorrow’s lunch too. Thank you for this easy tasty lebtil soup recipe!4 stars

  39. This is the best lentil soup recipe I have tried, looking forward to making it again! Thanks for sharing Lisa!5 stars

  40. I Loved this recipe. Unfortunately, my husband and adult son didn’t until…I added some leftover ham chunks to it, LOL. Their loss4 stars

  41. Love this soup Lisa! I’m making it again today because lentils are supposed to be Good Luck for the new year!5 stars

  42. This is soooo good! The lemon juice brings to to another level. Thank you!!5 stars

  43. When I saw lentils + fire roasted tomatoes, I knew I had to make this. Perfectly simple, but great depth of flavor with all the seasonings. Great recipe. Our family loved it!5 stars

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