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 had been looking for a hearty, nutrient dense lunch soup to meal prep, and I found the perfect soup. It’s rich in flavor and so easy to make (and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t cook, ever). Since I ran out of olive oil and yellow onions, I used avocado oil and a red onion instead. Still the taste is AMAZING! Thank you Lisa for your wonderful recipes!5 stars

    1. That’s great to hear you found the perfect soup to meal prep for lunch, Arlene! I hope you enjoy this lentil soup to come.

  2. I have a question with respect to the Mediterranean Lentil Soup recipe. I do not like Kale so can I substitute for Spinach?

  3. This lentil soup is so easy to make and delicious. I have made over and over again during seasons !
    I love how clean the ingredients are.
    Full of nutritions . I like to make a big pot and freeze with portions .5 stars

  4. I added about a half cup of pumpkin to thicken as well.
    Question-how do you use an immerson blender without splashing the entire kitchen?

    1. Hi Audrey – when it comes to the immersion blender, just make sure it’s firmly on the bottom of the pan, and then start blending slowly.

  5. This soup is delicious. I have it printed and saved in my favorite recipes binder. It has a good depth of flavor and uses a lot of healthy ingredients. I love what the fresh squeeze of lemon does to the final result.5 stars

  6. I first made this recipe over a year ago, and since then it’s been part of our monthly meal rotation. It’s super easy and the flavor never disappoints!5 stars

  7. Another delicious recipe. Couldn’t find Fire roasted tomatoes in any stores here in the UK, so I just used a can of chopped plum tomatoes and added a little paprika for a slightly smokey taste.5 stars

  8. I’ve made several lentil soup recipes, and this one was definitely the best! The flavors were perfectly balanced and bright with the lemon. My husband ate a bowl and also said it was the best one ever. I devoured the entire rest of the pot within a few days, and I want more. I did add probably a quarter pound of browned Conecuh sausage also. Thanks, Lisa!5 stars

    1. Thanks for leaving a review, and I’m happy to hear you and your husband found a favorite lentil soup to make now!

  9. Such a perfect day for lentil soup and so yummy. Never used lemon juice before it is very nice touch. Thank you!!5 stars

  10. Excellent recipe! I did a Cajun/Creole version of it, sticking pretty close to the original recipe, but making one or two adjustments. Definitely came out a winner! 5 stars!5 stars

  11. I have been on the hunt for the perfect lentil bean soup recipe. This was it! It was a huge hit. The only thing I did different was add ground Italian sausage to it. Because my crew are meat lovers. This was really really good.5 stars

  12. I just returned from a trip to Greece where I tasted some amazing lentil soup. I was in the mood for soup as the weather is trying to cool off here in San Diego. Lisa’s email arrived with this recipe and I knew I had to try it. It is delicious and very easy. And, I had all the ingredients in the house already. I hate when I see a recipe I’m interested in making but it creates another trip to the grocery store.

    I highly recommend the Med Lentil Soup. It will make you think of Greece, if you’ve been there. Easy. Delicious! Thanks Lisa.

    PS. My family is also HUGE fans of Lisa’s Loaded Breakfast Casserole. We have it for every holiday brunch.5 stars

    1. Hi Jocelyn – first, I’m jealous that you just got back from Greece. Haha. ;) I’m sure it was an amazing trip! Second, I’m happy you loved this lentil soup and that it reminded you of your adventures. Food is lovely that way! I’m glad you also love my breakfast casserole. That’s a great holiday recipe for sure!

  13. This really is the best lentil soup! It comes together easily and is the perfect comfort food for cold days. Reheats very well. It’s my new go-to soup!5 stars

    1. Thanks Gigi! I’m happy you love it. And yes, it’s a perfect soup to meal prep, freeze, and enjoy again in the future!

  14. I’m going to try this recipe, but I don’t like Kale! What would be alternatives to use or could I just leave it out completely?

  15. Lisa, your food is always delicious and so was this lentil soup! I made it last night with some assistance from my 3 year old daughter and it is delicious! Hubby was very impressed as well and we are inviting my father in law to join us for dinner tonight to enjoy it with us. Easy and delicious, a great blend of flavors, and an easy way to use up the tons of lentils that I have at home. We will be making this again…and again!5 stars

  16. Tried it and turned out delicious!! Super easy to make! I was thinking of making it again and was wondering if zaatar spices can be used here?5 stars

  17. Wow! I randomly got an ad for this recipe and it was just what I needed- a nutrient dense and absolutely delicious lentil recipe! This soup will definitely be saved in my bookmarks!5 stars

  18. Question: Because of their high level of oxalates, I can’t eat spinach but can eat kale. Which
    variety of kale would you suggest for this recipe and similar ones?

  19. Hi Lisa! My apologies if I missed this tip, but to clarify, are you cooking the lentils first before adding to this soup recipe?

    After 13 years without legumes, I’m so happy to have them back in my life (particularly lentils!), but I’m having to learn how to cook them, use them and store them! Thank you for sharing all your helpful tips! Your site is always more than just tasty recipes… it’s educational! 😊

    1. Hi Amy – no, you don’t need to cook the lentils first. Just give them a rinse and then toss them in! They’ll cook in the soup. :) I’m glad you’re enjoying all of my recipes and content, thank you!

  20. This soup was so tasty. We garnished with avocado, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. I also did not have any kale on hand so I substituted with swiss chard from my garden and was still delicious. Will make again.5 stars

  21. I am looking forward to dinner tonight!! I was wondering – can this be prepared and then frozen in a deep freezer? If so how long will it keep? My husband and I are expecting and I’m due in March so having freezer meals is a life saver for us.

  22. Oh my goodness! I’m so happy excited that i doing this soup recipe. I’m learning/ teaching my self how to make soups. Never learned because when my mom use to tell me to go in the kitchen with her I’m order for me to learn I always said, ‘i don’t need to, i have!’ Now that I’m an adult i regret not learning from her and now I’m missing homemade soups… anyways, i found this soup recipe and everyone in my house LOVES 💗 the soup! Girl, can’t wait to try some of your other soups. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe for others to enjoy😊5 stars

  23. No lie! This is the very best! When school starts, this soup will be prepped and kept for lunches, for sure.5 stars

  24. Has anyone come up with an Instant Pot version?🤔
    Since I got my 3 sizes of Instant pots and love the full flavor & nutrients that are locked into every IP recipe… I seldom make soup on the stove unless absolutely necessary. 

  25. Love this recipe. Have made it my own by using Massel vegan beef stock cubes instead of vegetable stock. I also use dupuy lentils because they maintain their  shape and i like the texture. Fabulous on a cold night with warm crusty bread.5 stars

  26. This really is the best lentil soup! I love the lemon flavor at the end it is hearty and healthy and I think it gets better the next few days as it sits in the fridge. It freezes beautifully and it’s also budget friendly. I like the veggies separate so I choose not to blend a portion of the soup. I serve it with bread as a complete meal. I’ve shared this recipe with other lentil lovers too! 5 stars

  27. Tasty & easy recipe to make. Not being vegetarian, I will add sausage for more depth next time I make it.5 stars

  28. 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!5 stars

  29. 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!5 stars

  30. 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.5 stars

  31. 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.4 stars

    1. I want to freeze mine too but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out after thawing. How did yours turn out after thawing?

  32. 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 

  33. 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!5 stars

  34. 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.5 stars

  35. Lovely soup, one of my faves. Usually substitute frozen spinach for the kale for convenience and works just as well.5 stars

  36. 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.