This hearty, comforting lentil soup is easy to make and chock full of veggies and flavor!
When the weather gets cold, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of soup with a few slices of warm bread. This rustic lentil soup recipe is vegan and very satisfying, even for the serious meat lovers.
If you’re interested in adding more plant-based meals to your diet, lentils are something you should get into. These little legumes are highly nutritious, tasty and a great way to add protein and fiber to soups, salads, side dishes and more. There are also several different kinds of lentils and each variety works best for a different purpose. To make this hearty lentil soup, I suggest brown or green lentils. This article from Cooking Light is a good reference if you want to learn more about how to use different types of lentils.
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What do I need to make this lentil soup?
The ingredient list is fairly simple with a few fresh veggies, herbs and spices and some pantry staples. Lentils are one of the most economical plant based proteins you can always have on hand. I order most of my pantry staples from my favorite online grocery store, Thrive Market. You can get all the organic pantry staples for 25-40% off!
Dried Lentils – brown or green lentils is what I use for this recipe.
Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic – the foundation for so many of the world’s best recipes!
Can of tomatoes – you could use whatever you have in your pantry here. I always have these fire roasted tomatoes on hand but you could sub diced tomatoes or even crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are more liquid and will create more of a tomato broth instead of pieces of tomato but the flavors will be pretty much the same and you can’t go wrong either way.
Veggie broth – I use this veggie broth to keep the recipe vegan and totally plant based. Chicken broth would also be delicious!
Herbs and Spices – You can play around here depending on your tastes. I typically go with cumin, a bay leaf, oregano, hot paprika and salt and pepper.
Optional – a squeeze of lemon adds a nice pop of brightness. Sometimes I also wilt in some sturdy greens like spinach or kale for an extra nutritious boost! This recipe is very forgiving and customizable. Have fun with it.
Hearty Lentil Soup
- 2 cups dried brown or green lentils
- 1 ½ cups diced carrot about 2 large
- 1 ½ cups diced celery 3-4 ribs
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 15 ounce can fire roasted or diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional: lemon wedges and sturdy greens like spinach or kale
- Bring a pot of 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Remove from heat add dried lentils and soak for 15 minutes.
- While lentils are soaking, dice onion, carrot, celery and mince garlic.
- Drain lentils and set aside. In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, celery and carrot and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are cooked and caramelized.
- Add garlic, oregano, cumin, paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two until garlic is fragrant.
- Add in tomatoes, veggie broth and drained lentils and bring soup to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 35-40 minutes until lentils are tender. Check for seasoning. Serve with lemon wedges.
- Optional: wilt in some sturdy greens like spinach or kale
- For a deeper flavor profile, when cooking the vegetables, allow them to brown and then scrape the bottom of the pan when adding the stock to distribute the flavor.
- Lentil Soup often becomes quite thick during cooking or storing. If it gets a bit too thick simply thin it out with a little water or stock.