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

4.93 from 195 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




425 Comments

  1. I wasn’t able to find fire-roasted tomatoes at the grocery store, what can I use to sub for this? love your blog/vlogs! big fan! your website is my go-to for so many weekly recipes, the black bean soup is one of my faves so far and I use the chia pudding recipes almost every week!

  2. I’m not a huge fan of lentils but this WAS the Best Lentil Soup Ever. I did not have the fired tomatoes but just regular canned. only had 3/4 lentils so I added (non soaked -1/4 cup) white navy bean.  It took way longer to simmer (2.5 hours cuz of the beans) but it is fabulous.  May daughter is a texture person, (dislikes) and she loved it.  I also did not blend it in anyway.  Didn’t want to move to a blend and don’t own a hand held.  I give this 10 stars ⭐️ hands down. Thanks!!5 stars

  3. The whole family enjoyed this hearty, healthy soup! Sprinkled parmesean cheese and cilantro on top and paired with a bread roll, it was delicious!5 stars

  4. I made this last night for my parents. We all loved it. 5+ stars!
    Definitely go for the fire-roasted tomatoes. It sure added flavor. I was worried it was going to overpower the soup, but nope. It was perfect!
    I love the kale in there; sturdier than spinach.
    I threw in half a can of drained garbanzo beans for an extra bite.5 stars

  5. Very good until the lemon, it overpowered the wonderful flavor of the lentil soup, until that’s all you could taste.

  6. Question: where do you find gluten free lentils? Every brand I find says it may contain wheat. I have celiac, so that’s obviously a concern.

    1. Lentils are supposed to be naturally gluten-free! I would head to maybe WholeFoods or a market similar to that as they may have more options.

  7. I liked the lemon chickpea lentil soup so much, I decided to try this one too. It’s a winner. It’s all a winner when my meat eating husband doesn’t even notice this soup is meatless. A win!5 stars

  8. Looks like an awesome recipe and I cannot wait to try it on this extremely cold day today! I always enjoy Lisa’s videos before I try the recipe. Lisa is clear and articulate making all the instructions very clear and understandable for even the beginner. In my opinion, this is the best cooking website I have ever viewed or used.5 stars

  9. I love this soup!  It is so easy to make and tastes delicious.  My husband even asks me to make it since he first tried it.

    This is a keeper for our family!5 stars

  10. This soup checks all the boxes. It’s delicious, comforting, hearty, and EASY! It felt like it came together pretty quickly without a ton of prep or time, and the product was outstanding. I took Lisa’s suggestion of spot blending and I am glad I did. It made the soup similar to a chili, in my opinion, thus I immediately topped it with jalapeños. I will definitely make this again and again. 5 stars

  11. Truly THE BEST lentil soup I’ve ever made. Even my picky adult daughter, who apparently “hates” kale, said this was the best thing I’ve ever made. Hubs initially asked if there was any meat. I said nope. All said and done this was a huge hit!5 stars

  12. Over 1800mg sodium? How is that possible with those ingredients, and is that nutrition panel for a serving or the whole recipe?

    1. Thanks for the catch! The nutrition info is per serving, but it was accidentally pulling in regular stock and not low-sodium stock into the calculation. I’ve fixed it. :)

  13. Great soup and easy to make, I’m looking forward to cold weather now so I can have this soup.

    A note on the metric measurements: Liquids like water, broth, and water, are measured in liters (L) or if you must, milliliters (ml). Grams and kilograms are for solids like flour or lentils.

    Bon appetit.5 stars

  14. This soup was delicious!  The best lentil soup I’ve ever had!  I’ll be making a triple batch – some for freezing and several for a very busy friend who doesn’t have much time to cook nutritional and healthy foods!  Before adding the roasted tomatoes to the soup mixture, I blended it for a few seconds to lightly purée the bite-size chunks into a smaller bits of tomatoes!  I also used garlic powder in place of the garlic cloves.  If you try this soup, I’m sure you will want to make more!  Enjoy!

  15. Truely is the best! I added a cup each of mushrooms, corn, and peas for extra veggies. Even without blending, just a bit of extra cook time, it came out like a hearty stew. The lemon at the end really makes it pop. Excellent recipe! Will be adding it to my regular rotation!5 stars

  16. Best Ever! I kept trying to like Lentils, but never really got past the blah. The cumin and fresh garlic (IMO) was the kicker to get it up to yum!
    I left out the fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste , but everything else was the same.
    I made bread bowls to eat the soup from , and it was a hit!
    Thank you !5 stars

  17. Absolutely love the flavor.  Because I like veggie-heavy soups (aka stoups), I’ll be doubling the veggies next time.  Thanks for a lovely lentil soup.5 stars

  18. Can’t wait to try some of your recipes they look amazing. 
    However, i can’t eat onion and garlic.
    I usually just use garlic olive oil and skip onion and usually this is ok.
    Seems like this recipe has enough other stuff that it would not be affected too much??
    Also I can’t find fire roasted tomato here in Tassie, Aus. Could I add some smoked paprika? 

  19. I made this tonight and it was delicious. Will definitely be a new staple.

    I think I could use it as a base for a vegetarian shepherds pie.

    Thanks so much. Xx

  20. your web site is the best i have used, i must say, excellent well done, its very informative and easy to use , thanks

  21. I’m wondering if the calorie count is correct? 421 calories for 1-1/4 cups of soup that is mostly vegetables just doesn’t seem right to me.

    1. HI Mary – I did the calculation again and it’s about right. This recipe does yield four large bowls of soup, or six more modest servings.

  22. This is a fantastic recipe! I love the lemon at the end, I think that really put it over the top. It is lick the bowl good 5 stars

  23. Very easy to make and delicious! I decided to portion into my Souper Cubes to individually freeze portions and I got 8 – 1 cup servings. I added a little turmeric as well. Whatever you do, do not skip the fresh lemon juice. It completely brightens up the taste. I used avocado oil to spray in the pot instead of 1/4 of oil and really reduced the calories but none of the taste.5 stars

  24. How timely! Monday is the start of Lent for Orthodox christians, when no animal product is allowed till Easter on April 24th, so good vegan recipes are needed very much.

    1. A calories is actually known as a Kilocalorie. 
      It’s just not too often you see it.
      So kcal is actually the proper and correct term 😃

  25. I made this soup and it’s fantastic! I only had red lentils on hand but it still turned out great. I also didn’t have kale but substituted fresh spinach.  #Winner5 stars

  26. I went to a friends and we were inspired to make lentil soup. So, I searched Google for a recipe and found yours along with many others, of course. But the photo sold me. We went to Whole Foods (it’s the closest market & we both love fresh, healthy products) and bought all the ingredients. We were actually short 1-28oz can of Diced Tomatoes and compensated with the veggie broth & water w/ a tad bit more of the paste. It. Came. Out. DE.LICOUS!! We appreciate you!!’ And WILL be looking up more of your recipes to make. 5 stars

    1. Thrilled to hear you decided to make this lentil soup amongst the many others and ended up loving it! Can’t wait to see what Downshiftology recipe you make next :)

  27. Haven’t made it yet but giving it five stars because it just sounds so delicious!! I’m wondering if it would be okay to use spinach instead of kale? I know my DH would turn his nose up at the whole thing if he knew there was kale in it.
    Thank you.5 stars

  28. this really is the best lentil soup of all time. I use half a lemon, half the amount of lentils, and I add noodles (because noodles in soup is a necessity for me, lol). My mom and I are completely obsessed. Thank you, Lisa!! <35 stars

  29. 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

  30. 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

    1. 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.

    1. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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