This hearty and healthy Lentil Soup is filled with nourishing vegetables, lentils, and the perfect blend of spices. This easy one pot meal is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and SO delicious!
I am not a big fan of the winter. I do enjoy the four seasons, but I only want winter for a day or two. I hate the cold! The snow is pretty, but only from inside, ha! Since I live in Utah and grew up in Illinois, there is no hope for me.
The only way to survive is to make warm, comforting foods all winter long. Soup is my favorite. I love making big pots of soup so we can take it in our lunches or reheat it for a quick dinner.
This Lentil Soup is one of my all-time favorites because it is healthy AND comforting. Healthy food can be delicious and comforting and this soup certainly is! The flavors are incredible and it will give you all of the cozy feels.
It is also the perfect soup to deliver to friends who are under the weather, welcoming a new baby, or in need of some comfort because it is gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free.
This Lentil Soup with a loaf of crusty French bread is sure to bring warmth and smiles to everyone who has a bowl.
What are Lentils?
Like beans, lentils are part of the legume family. They look like tiny pods or pebbles and have a mild flavor. I like cooking with them because they absorb the flavor of whatever else you’re cooking! They are rich in protein, iron, folate, and fiber.
Tips for Cooking with Lentils
Lentils are really easy to cook with, don’t be intimidated if you haven’t made them before. I love using lentils to make a filling vegetarian meal.
- I use brown or green lentils for this recipe. You can find them at any grocery store by the dried beans. You can use red or yellow lentils, just note that they will change the color of the soup. I don’t recommend canned lentils for this recipe.
- Lentils do not need to be soaked before putting them in the pot to cook, but you do need to rinse them first. Put the lentils in a colander and rinse with cold water to remove any debris or dirt.
How to Make Lentil Soup
This soup is easy to make and is made in ONE pot! I always love a good one pot meal.
In a large pot, cook the onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for one more minute.
Now, it’s time to spice things up! Add the dried bay leaves, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, thyme, fire roasted tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Stir in the rinsed lentils and season with salt and black pepper. If you want the soup to have a little heat, you can add in a little crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Bring the soup to a boil. Place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until lentils are soft.
Blending Lentil Soup
I use an immersion blender to get a perfectly creamy soup. For this recipe, I only do about 3 turns inside the pot to avoid making the soup totally smooth–I want some of the lentils intact!
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Let the soup cool down for a few minutes, then transfer about 2 cups of the soup into a blender, pulse it until smooth, and return the blended soup to the pot.
Finish the soup by adding the spinach and fresh lemon juice to the pot. Don’t skip the lemon it really brightens up the soup!
I don’t think there’s anything better than a slice of crusty bread with a bowl of warm, comforting soup!
You can also serve the following on the side:
- Garlic Bread
- Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
- Apple Cheddar Biscuits
- Easy Green Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
How to Store and Freeze Lentil Soup
Store leftover lentil soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I think the flavor gets better the longer the soups sit, so I love having leftovers.
You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe container for three to four months.
I love having this soup in the freezer at all times for easy lunches or dinners. It’s a great healthy soup to always have on hand.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Sweet Potato Soup
- Easy Butternut Squash Soup
- Chickpea Noodle Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Turmeric Chickpea Vegetable Soup
- Easy Minestrone Soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed well
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
- Dash of crushed red pepper flakes or pinch of cayenne, optional
- 2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach (can use kale)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the dried bay leaves, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, thyme, tomatoes, and vegetable broth.
- Stir in the rinsed lentils and season with salt and black pepper. If you want the soup to have a little heat, you can add in a little crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Place the lid on the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until lentils are soft.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup a little. I do about 3 turns around the pan with the blender. You don’t want to puree the entire soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender. Remove 2 cups of the soup from the pot and let cool for a few minutes before blending. Blend and return the pureed soup back into the pot and stir.
- Add the spinach and fresh lemon juice. Stir and taste. Add additional salt and pepper, If necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve warm.
Have you tried this recipe?
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Photos by Molly from Yes to Yolks
How long did you soak the lentils for?
You don’t have to soak the lentils prior to using them.
I’ve been wondering what to do with some lentils I’ve had for months, and I have the rest of the ingredients also, perfect!
Easy to prepare, great flavor and texture.
My whole family loved it. It is also vegan, a huge plus, as one of my daughters is vegan. I’m making it again this weekend !
Fantastic! Lots of good flavor. My husband and I do not like fire roasted tomatoes so I just used regular tomatoes diced and added a few more shakes of red pepper flakes. Yes, and easy to throw together! Husband even liked it even though it had no meat in it – a first!
Maria, your soup recipes are tops! This week I’m going to make your chickpea farro soup. Thanks!
This is delicious!! I have been making a vegetarian meal/soup each weekend since the start of the pandemic that I deliver to my 2 sons. I get to see them outside and make some new recipes. I have made some good lentil soups and this was great!! I scaled up the ingredients a bit to use up the full 8 cups of veggie broth. I forgot to blend the soup and also added a chopped summer squash and zucchini that I had to use up. Loved it and love your soups!!
I am so glad you loved the soup! I am on a major soup kick right now:)
WOW! So delicious! I have tried SO many lentil soup recipes looking for the right one, but they all turn out sort of ‘meh.’ Until now. The absolute best lentil soup recipe I’ve made. Thank you!
Oh good! This makes me so happy because I love this soup so much! Glad you love it too!
What leftover meats would be good in this soup? My husband always wants some meat in his soup! Thank you!
You can add Italian sausage or rotisserie chicken.
This soup is a keeper – very tasty and hearty. Love your recipes…they never disappoint!
This soup is definitely going to be added in to our dinner rotation, it was so good! I had a sweet potato on hand that I added in and really liked it like that. The flavors worked really well together.
Love the sweet potato addition!
How do I save this recipe to Relish?
This recipe landed in my inbox this morning and I happened to have everything on hand to make it. Such a healthy recipe! It had a little too much twang from the tomatoes for us so I added 1 Tbsp. sugar and a drained can of corn. Very good! Thank you!
This soup is so good! I followed the recipe exactly as written. What a treat when something so tasty is also so nutritious. I am looking forward to making this for my gluten-free FIL. I served the soup with your Easy Green Salad (Balsamic Dressing was so much better than store bought), and garlic toast. What a perfect dinner for a cool evening.
Great soup recipes!! Thanks!
Hey Maria! Big fan here! This soup is amazing. I’ve made it twice already. It’s perfect for Sunday nights when we’re eating light, and as a bonus, we’ve got lunches for the following week! I’m thinking about making a batch to freeze. Do you think I should wait until reheating to add the spinach?
Do you really have to blend it?
I like to blend it a little to thicken it up, but you can taste it and see if you like it unblended.
I just finished making this delicious Lentil soup! Thank you, Maria, for this recipe!
I am sharing this recipe with my sisters because it’s so good! Perfect for these chilly days!
Hi Maria! Would it be OK to use fresh lime juice instead of lemon? I always have limes on hand LOL!
Sure, I think lime would be ok if you like it!
Can you do this in an instant pot?
Best lentil soup I’ve ever made!
So good and so easy! The first time I have ever tried lentil soup, and it will definitely be in the normal rotation from here on out!
I made this for dinner tonight and it was outstanding! So many great flavors! So satisfying and delicious! Thank you!
So glad you loved it.
This was an easy soup to make and we loved it. My husband said, “This is so good, I could live on this soup!” Going in the recipe box.
Yay! Glad he approves:)