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

4.88 from 114 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 6 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.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @downshiftology and hashtag it #downshiftology.

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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253 comments on “Very Best Lentil Soup”

  1. I’m far from a chef… can just about boil eggs- so far have made the chia seed pudding and today I made this soup and it came out great! Not a challenging process and it tastes delicious! Thank you!5 stars

  2. Making this soup now, it looks delicious 🥣 5 stars

  3. Just made this for our First Official Snow Day! Perfect, comforting and nutritious. Thanks for another great recipe!5 stars

  4. This really is the best lentil soup! It seemed to taste even better two days later when we had it for lunch. The lemon is key and the kale ended up being my favorite texture out of all of the veggies. This is the perfect soup to make at this time of year! :)5 stars

  5. I cooked this last night with a few substitutions/additions: I used celery seeds instead of celery; I added oyster mushrooms, and a bit of adobe seasoning. All I can say is “YUM!”, I’m in love. This soup will become a staple in my home. Thank you!5 stars

  6. Great recipe, except I find when I add salt before cooking the lentils, the lentils end up being too hard to enjoy. I seasoned with salt and pepper after cooking for 25 minutes, right before adding the kale and lemon.4 stars

  7. Hearty and delicious! No fire roasted tomatoes? Sub a tsp of smoked paprika. I did! For extra texture and umph add a cup of quinoa.
    Made this on the spur of the moment at 9:30pm because I had nothing made for the next day’s lunch. Quick and easy! Yum!5 stars

  8. Thank you so much Lisa.  This truly is the VERY BEST Lentil Soup!!5 stars

  9. Loved this soup!  Blending some of the soup is key as you get a nice creamy texture. My two year old gobbled it up. I will definitely make again. 5 stars

  10. Just a question: Is there a reason black lentil wouldn’t work in this soup. It’s what I have on hand and really don’t want to have to buy more. Thanks!

  11. So this recipe just didn’t do it for me. I eat a lot of middle eastern foods and they are typically so flavorful with all the spices used. This soup, while full of great ingredients and spices, tasted a little bland to me. It’s gotten rave reviews from others, so it could just be my palate. 3 stars

    • Hi Becky – thanks for making it! It’s definitely not a spicy soup, just full of veggie flavor. Did you make sure to use fire roasted tomatoes? That really makes a big difference. But I’m sure I’ll do another version of a spicier lentil soup in the future, stay tuned!

  12. Loved this soup!! So great for those cold winter nights and you want something comforting. I did not have Kale so I added fresh baby spinach to it and it was super delicious. Thank you for making a vegan recipe.5 stars

  13. This soup was fantastic! I really wasn’t expecting so much flavor from such simple ingredients. I loved the acid kick the lemon gives it at the end. The kale makes it so healthy.

    It’s time to cook more of your recipes. Thank you!5 stars

  14. Delicious flavor but my lentils are too chewy. Cooked it long enough. Any other reason they might be chewy?
    Thanks4 stars

    • Hi Donna – chewy lentils are usually undercooked, whereas overcooked lentils turn mushy. Maybe the variety of lentils you used required a little bit more cook time?

  15. OK. I was skeptical. Not of Lisa’s recipe, but more of my ability to actually make AND have the type of reaction that so many of you have indicated per the comments. And this is indeed the VERY BEST LENTIL SOUP ever.

    I used a 28 oz can of Cento crushed tomatoes (did not have fire roasted on hand), and everything else was sourced by my Imperfect Foods box. Also added a 1/2 tbsp of jalapeno salt to add a subtle kick. The addition of lemon adds the perfect amount of brightness. Took half the soup and blended it in on medium high in the Vitamix, which resulted in the exact texture I was aiming for – creamy with a little chunk.

    All to say that this is yet another recipe worth the river of tears from onion cutting and mostly definitely will be making this again! Thanks Lisa!5 stars

    • So thrilled to hear you loved this recipe Kristen! I’m glad the steps were easy to follow along to and that the results came out perfectly.

  16. Fabulous recipe! I used chard stems and leaves instead of celery and kale and still amazing. I used some super thick leftovers to make a shakshuka which might have been even better than the soup.5 stars

    • Chard works great in this recipe as well! Happy to hear you loved it. And wow! Love the idea of making a shakshuka with the remaining bits :)

  17. Hi Lisa,  I’m curious to know what size Le Creuset Pot were you using to hold this soup?   Can’t wait to make this tomorrow.  Thanks.    Karen

  18. This recipe is fabulous! Best lentil soup ever. Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  19. The best ever!5 stars

  20. Amazing and perfect for this cold weather in NYC! Thank you for being so specific with the recipe and sharing great ideas!5 stars

  21. This soup was really good and was full of flavor! It was my first time having lentils and I enjoyed them. It was a good day having soup after getting 10 inches of snow. ❄️5 stars

  22. Another absolutely delicious recipe! Thank You!!5 stars

  23. I made this soup tonight and it hit the spot and was so flavorful! I love the combination of spices and fire roasted tomatoes are my new favorite ingredient! The only thing I will do differently next time is use a smaller lemon or use just half of a large lemon. It was slightly over powering. I decided not to use the immersion blender because I like my soups a little chunky and it turned out to be the perfect consistency for me. Thanks for another wonderful recipe Lisa!5 stars

  24. Hello, I’m just  wondering why the calories are so high for such a healthy recipe, I calculated the WW points and it comes to 13:(
    I guess I can cut down on the olive oil or even just try using an olive oil spray instead. Thank you for this recipe!
    Anna

    • Hi Anna – most of the calories in this recipe are coming from the lentils, canned tomatoes, and olive oil. You can reduce the olive oil a little bit if you’d like. Enjoy!

      • Hi Lisa. This is the first time I make one of your recipes. I don’t really do any recipes ever, but was looking for a soup I could have everyday for dinner. I made it tonight and it’s delicious! I’m just wondering if the nutrition info is for one serving? How much is one serving? I use Lifesum to track my meals and I would like to add the soup.5 stars

      • Hi Vanessa- Glad you found a winning soup recipe! Each serving is about 1 1/4 cup.

  25. Best soup ever- title truly accurate- makes a lot and covers us for lunches or dinners for a few meals- on keeper list ! 5 stars

  26. Delicious, lisa!!5 stars

  27. I made this soup and it is the BEST!  I had two bowls.  I live alone and made a huge pot.  I purchased the silicone soup cubes that Lisa recommended and froze the soup.  Now I can have this delicious soup whenever I want (but honestly, I don’t think it will last long!). Thanks Lisa!!5 stars

  28. Thank you so much for this great recipe with clear instructions @downshipology. This is so easy to make and I love that it is so hearty. A perfect filling meal in a bowl on these dark evenings. 
    Love from County Wicklow, Ireland. 

    #downshiftology 5 stars

  29. Yes, I have to agree, this is the very best lentil soup. It gets even better after sitting a day or two. Also, I added some sliced chicken and mushroom sausage when I served this as leftovers. Delish! 
    As always, thank you, Lisa for your great recipes. 5 stars

  30. Great soup recipe, all the family loved it . 5 stars

  31. You don’t lie do you!?
    This is indeed the very best lentil soup. DEEEELISCH! Just made a batch and it is a warm bowl of goodness.
    I put half of the soup into my Vitamix blender, pureed it smooth and added it back in to the pot. After adding the kale, I added more water as the consistency was thick.
    The taste is … wow. THANK YOU for another winner.5 stars

  32. Thanks Lisa! This worked out great. I used 1 tsp oil to lower the fat and added a 1/8 tsp of turmeric.5 stars

  33. If I don’t have the vitamix immersion blender, any other options?

  34. Would canned tomatoes work. Don’t have fire roasted tomatoes; trying to use what I have on hand. Thanks.

  35. I loved this soup. All basics in the pantry and fridge. i put less liquid in for the right consistency. A great winter staple. Quick to make for dinner. leftovers are even better.5 stars

  36. Make it for lunch!. Just amazing. Thank you so much.5 stars

  37. The soup turned out wonderful!! Very tasty and full of flavor. I agree with one of the earlier posts to not add a whole lemon but wrote how many tablespoons – was very lemony, but still still delicious! 5 stars

  38. Such an easy, lovely and healthy soup. It was so delicious! Luckily I have some leftovers for lunch ;-)5 stars

  39. So tasty!! And easy!! I even got to the very end and forgot the lemon juice and kale, and it was still delicious! 5 stars

  40. I made this for dinner tonight and it really hit the spot! It was delicious. Thanks for another great recipe. I may add some sausage next time.5 stars

  41. This recipe is so easy and the flavors so good! I love a simple soup recipe at this time of year.5 stars

  42. This was really yummy. I added half a chopped chilli pepper for some spice.5 stars

  43. My Wife made this evening and it turned out awesome! Our weather is cold and this hit the spot this evening. Great recipe, thank you for sharing.5 stars

  44. Very good but you might consider changing the “juice of 1 lemon” to “lemon juice to taste”.  I love lemon but it was overpowering.4 stars

  45. What a delicious soup recipe! I’ve tended to make lentil soup with more of an Asian flavor, I look forward to trying your version!5 stars

  46. Yum! This lentil soup is so flavorful and filling. I love all the vegetables and plant protein. It’s a perfect weeknight soup especially since it’s getting cooler! My family loved it so I will definitely be making it again this week! 5 stars

  47. I love a good soup at this time of year and this definitely sounds like one to try! So hearty and healthy too!5 stars

  48. What a warm, comforting and delicious soup! Can’t wait to try it.5 stars

  49. Lisa, Do you use dry or canned lentils for this recipe?

  50. This looks so good. Do you think spinach would work fine vs. kale?

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