Warm up with a bowl of the BEST Lentil Soup! This hearty vegetarian soup is loaded with healthy veggies and tons of flavor ... it's the perfect treat on a cold fall or winter day!
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The weather is finally starting to cool off here in Dallas, and I'm loving it. I've broken out my sweaters and boots, and I can't get enough soups and casseroles!
This Easy Lentil Soup is exactly what I've been craving lately. It's classic comfort food, and the perfect meal for chilly fall and winter days.
You are going to love this cozy soup! It's loaded with vegetables and warm, comforting flavors, low cal, healthy, and hearty. Basically, it's like the traditional, old-fashioned recipe that you know and love, but better!
Did I mention that it also tastes amazing? Or that it's super easy to make? Trust me, you need to try this recipe!
This homemade Lentil Soup recipe uses simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store. Here's what you'll need:
- Lentils - You'll use standard green lentils or brown lentils for this soup. I've always loved these tasty legumes! They're a cheap, healthy source of plant-based protein, fast-cooking compared to dried beans (no soaking required), hold their shape while cooking, and make a great pantry staple. Lentils are also super tasty if you know how to season them right, which you definitely will after making this recipe (no bland soup here).
- Fresh Veggies - This recipes uses a combo of onions, carrots, celery, and fresh spinach. You can also add other vegetables if you'd like. Check out the Variations section below for ideas.
- Canned Tomatoes - Versatile canned tomatoes create a great flavor base for this soup. However, feel free to use fresh tomatoes if you're making this recipe during summer.
- Spices - You'll use a warm, savory combo of smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and crushed red pepper flakes to season the soup.
- Garlic - Fresh Garlic adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this soup and complements the earthy lentils so well.
- Vegetable Broth - I like to make my own from bouillon, that way I always have some on hand.
- Lemon Juice - A bit of fresh lemon juice is the perfect way to brighten up the flavors of this hearty soup just before serving.
The best thing about this recipe (apart from it's wonderful flavor), is that it's naturally vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten-free, which means everyone can enjoy it! It's also super flexible! Try adding different veggies and spices for a totally different flavor ... I'm sharing lots of tips below.
You'll Also Need
You'll need a large soup pot or dutch oven to cook the soup I used my favorite non-stick dutch oven, and it worked perfectly! A fine mesh strainer also comes in super handy to sort and rinse the lentils.
How to Make Lentil Soup
This simple soup couldn't be easier to make from scratch! You'll find a detailed recipe card at the end of the article, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Sauté onions, carrots, and celery. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat, add the veggies, then cook them until they start to get tender (about 10 minutes). Make sure to season the vegetables generously with salt and pepper, which will start building the flavor in your soup.
- Mix in the garlic and spices. Next, you'll add the fresh garlic and spices (smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and crushed red pepper flakes). The smoked paprika and cumin give this vegan soup a subtle smokey flavor that's super tasty. Cook everything, stirring constantly, just until the garlic and spices are fragrant.
- Add the lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and vegetable broth. Then stir everything together and bring your soup to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the lentils and veggies are tender (but not mushy). It should take about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach. Next, you'll stir in the spinach and cook it just until it's wilted ... it should only take a minute or two.
- Finish the soup. You'll finish the soup by stirring in fresh lemon juice and parsley (both of which really brighten the flavors) and by seasoning generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Once you've mastered the basic Veggie Lentil Soup recipe, you can fun experimenting with the flavors! Here are some easy ideas to inspire you:
- Spices - Change up the flavor profile by using different herbs and spices. You can use classic spices, such as thyme, rosemary, basil, or oregano, or try a blend, like cajun seasoning or garam masala.
- Peppers - Are you a spicy food lover? Crank up the heat with some hot peppers. Sauté fresh peppers (like jalapeños) along with the veggies, or stir in smokey chipotles before simmering.
- Greens - Swap out the spinach for other greens, like kale or swiss chard. Just keep in mind that they'll need extra cooking time. You'll want to add them along with the lentils.
- Veggies - Need to clean out your fridge? Add those extra vegetables to this soup! Everything from bell peppers to green beans, cauliflower, potatoes, and zucchini is fair game.
Store any leftover Lentil Vegetable Soup in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat gently in your microwave or on your stovetop. Leftovers may also be frozen in an airtight container for about two to three months.
This vegetarian Lentil Soup is classic comfort food: flavorful, healthy, and hearty. It makes the excellent one dish meal, perfect for an easy, low-key dinner.
It's also delicious served with a crunchy salad (try this Easy Chopped Salad, Kale Caesar Salad, or Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad). Add some bread for dipping (like this Beer Bread or my fave Garlic Bread), and dinner is complete!
Looking for more soup recipes? You'll love these scrumptious recipes, too:
- 15 Bean Soup - This mixed bean soup is total comfort food that hearty and healthy!
- Vegetable Soup - A classic veg soup that you'll make again and again.
- Vegetable Barley Soup - One of my most popular soup recipes ... super tasty.
- Kitchen Sink Soup - The perfect recipe for cleaning out your fridge!
- Kale and Chickpea Soup - This simple soup is loaded with flavor!
- Vegetable Stew - The perfect recipe for cold winter nights.
- Mushroom Barley Soup - A flavor-packed soup that will stick to your ribs.
- Celery Soup - A great way to use up lots of celery and so delish.
- Vegan Irish Stew - Don't save this delightful stew just for St. Patty's Day, it's delicious year round!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, lentil soup is great for you! It's made with protein-packed lentils, which are also high in fiber and minerals and low in fat. Plus, it's low cal and loaded with healthy veggies.
No, you do not need to cook before adding them to soup. Unlike dried beans, lentils are quick-cooking.
No, you do not need to soak lentils before cooking them. Lentils cook quickly, and unlike dried beans, they don't require soaking.
Lentil soup has an earthy, comforting flavor and it's thick and hearty. The combination of spices give it a warm, smokey taste, and the fresh lemon juice and veggies brighten it up.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups spinach (packed), chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
- kosher salt
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery to oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Saute until onions are translucent and veggies are starting to get tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle paprika, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and garlic over veggies. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Mix lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, and broth into veggies. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook soup until lentils and veggies are tender, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes).
- Stir in spinach and cook just until wilted (about 2 minutes).
- Add lemon juice to taste and stir in parsley. Season soup generously with salt and pepper.
- Serve soup hot, sprinkled with additional parsley, if desired. Enjoy!