Here's a delicious and easy lentil vegetable soup with a rich and hearty tomato base and nourishing green or brown lentils.
This recipe is made with simple ingredients, excellent for weeknight dinners and meal prep, and a healthy and wholesome homemade meal.
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We love this lentil vegetable soup, and we are sure you'll love it too because you can make it with little effort, simple pantry staples, in one pot, and with little hands-on time.
The soup is wholesome, hearty, and with a wonderful herby flavor.
The lentils make the dish nutritious and fulfilling, packing it with texture, protein, iron, and heart and gut-healthy fiber.
You can make a big batch of the soup and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for months. It's a beautiful meal prep recipe!
While most ingredients are pantry and fridge staples, you can customize the recipe by adding your favorite spices and seasonal veggies.
For instance, try turmeric, diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh tomatoes, chopped kale, cauliflower florets, mushrooms, and so on.
As usual, take this as a guideline, experiment, and let us know what you come up with in the comments below.
A quick tip: do you like your soup extra creamy? Blend 2 cups of the soup before adding the greens for a super creamy texture without the need for dairy.
We love using green or brown dried lentils for this lentil soup recipe. They cook in about 30 minutes and keep an al-dente texture that we love.
Can you use canned lentils? Sure you can. But add them later as they tend to overcook and lose their bite.
We recommend a good quality extra virgin olive oil to make the flavor base by gently frying onion, carrot, and celery.
EVO oil has a higher polyphenols content that makes it more stable (healthier) at high cooking temperatures, so we always recommend it for most preparations.
You can substitute avocado or other vegetable oils for extra virgin olive oil.
Onion, carrot, celery
Onion, carrot, and celery are a classic combination in French and Italian cooking when it comes to soups and stews. We use white or yellow onions.
As they gently fry in the olive oil, they develop wonderful sweet, acidic, and umami-rich compounds that will make the soup richer and tastier.
You can substitute thinly sliced leek or shallots for the onions.
If you like garlic, you'll love it in lentil soup. You can grate, crush, or finely chop it with a knife before adding it in.
Herbs and Spices
You can use dried herbs or fresh herbs for this recipe. We recommend thyme, oregano, and ground cumin.
You can also use rosemary, sage, and bay leaves.
You can experiment with turmeric, curry powder, and smoked paprika, adding one teaspoon at a time, tasting, and adjusting for more if required.
For weeknights, we use store-bought vegetable broth. This way, the soup is quick and easy to make in one pot.
If you are on a low-sodium diet, you can use a reduced-sodium vegetable broth and play with the spices to make the soup a little tastier.
There are many types of canned tomatoes you can choose for this recipe. However, we generally go for canned diced tomatoes.
Alternatively, you can use fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, whole canned peeled tomatoes (smashed with a fork before adding them into the soup), or fresh ripe tomatoes (chopped into chunks).
We tried making this with tomato purée, and while the flavor was excellent, we missed the chunky texture of diced tomatoes.
You can be creative here and add your favorite leafy green. Choose from spinach, curly kale, Lacinato kale, chard, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, and more.
You can substitute other vegetables for the leafy greens. For instance, try diced sweet potatoes, diced potatoes, chopped bell pepper, quartered mushrooms, cauliflower florets, and broccoli florets.
You can use fresh or frozen leafy greens and veggies.
Salt and pepper
We recommend sea salt or kosher salt and black pepper. You can also add red pepper flakes should you like your soup with some heat.
You can top the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, dairy-free cheese, homemade croutons, or a thick slice of toasted crusty bread rubbed with fresh garlic.
Start with the flavor base
Warm up the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
Add coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot, and fry them on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent the veggies from burning.
Add grated garlic and ground cumin, and saute for one more minute or until you smell their fragrant aroma.
Note: this initial soffritto, or flavor base, adds a ton of flavor to the soup, so we recommend not rushing it and letting the veggies soften and sweat for at least 5 minutes.
Let it simmer
Add vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, dry lentils, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Cover the pot with a lid, bring to a boil, then crack the top open and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but still al dente.
Stir occasionally to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven.
Tip: we recommend rinsing and washing the lentils in a sift under running water to remove soil and debris. Also, check for small stones that might hide between the lentils. Smaller lentils might cook faster; larger lentils might take a few minutes longer.
Optional: if you like extra creamy soup, blend about 2 cups of the soup. You can blend more or less until you reach your desired texture and consistency.
We do this directly in the pot with an immersion blender. If your pot is enameled cast iron, pay attention, as the blender might scratch the bottom of the pot. You can also blend 2 cups of soup in a regular blender, then transfer the blended soup back into the pot.
Note: this is an optional step, and the lentil vegetable soup is also delicious without blending it.
Add your leafy greens of choice (we use spinach here) and simmer for a few more minutes until the greens wilt (5 minutes for spinach - 8 minutes for kale).
Taste and adjust for salt. Then serve it in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice (optional), a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a slice of toasted bread.
Tip: rub the warm toasted bread with a clove of garlic to infuse it with aroma, then drizzle with good quality EVO oil and a pinch of salt. That's how this kind of soup is eaten in Italy.
Turmeric and potato lentil soup
We love adding a teaspoon of turmeric and a couple of diced potatoes to this lentil soup.
Add the turmeric with the garlic and the beginning of the recipe. Then add bite-sized diced potatoes (peeled) with the lentils, which have about the same cooking time.
The potatoes turn beautifully tender and are infused with turmeric flavor. Also, lentils and turmeric are an excellent match, so we are happy to recommend this variation strongly.
Italian lentil soup
Wholesome, hearty, and packed with Italian flavors and herbs, this lentil soup is our to-go when we want to make something everyone loves!
It's easy to make, with simple pantry staples, nourishing, fulfilling, and delicious.
Check out our Italian lentil soup recipe.
The best way to serve this soup is in bowls with thick slices of focaccia or grilled/toasted crusty bread.
Try rubbing the toasted bread with garlic, drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil, and serve alongside the soup.
You can also serve the soup with homemade croutons or with a side of 10-minute oven-baked crostini to sop up the soup leftovers.
You can add chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper as garnish and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top for an extra tang.
If you want to add a veggie-based side dish, we can recommend the following:
- Side salad (leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, lemon vinaigrette).
- Green bean salad (green beans, tomatoes, shallots, feta or vegan feta, mustard dressing).
- Shaved Brussels sprout salad (Brussels sprout, dried cranberries, walnuts, maple syrup).
- Fennel and orange salad (fennel, orange wedges, pomegranate seeds, black olives).
Make Ahead & Storage
Make Ahead: this lentil vegetable soup is an excellent recipe to make ahead as you can refrigerate it for several days or freeze it for months. Also, on the second and third days, the soup tastes better than when it's freshly made because the flavors have time to meld.
Refrigerator: let the soup cool down completely at room temperature, then transfer it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: let the soup cool down completely at room temperature, then transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw: thaw in the refrigerator over several hours or in the microwave with a thawing function.
Reheat: you can reheat the soup in a pot on the stovetop for a few minutes or in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid reheating it multiple times.
More Soup Recipes
If you like warming and delicious soups, try one of these wholesome soup ideas:
- Creamy kale soup (dinosaur kale, white beans, onion, carrot, celery, canned tomatoes).
- Potato leek soup (potato, leek, thyme, bay leaf, nutmeg, greek or plant-based yogurt).
- Tuscan soup (white beans, savoy cabbage, tomato paste, leek, chard, kale, thyme).
- Chickpea soup (chickpeas, carrot, celery, leek, potatoes, crushed tomatoes, rosemary).
- Butternut squash soup (butternut squash, carrot, garlic, thyme, sage, vegetable broth).
More Lentil Recipes
Get your daily intake of legumes with these easy and tasty lentil ideas:
- Lentil curry (red lentils, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, curry, garam masala).
- Red lentil soup (split red lentils, cumin, rosemary, bay leaves, crushed tomatoes).
- Lentil pasta (green lentils, ditalini pasta, cherry tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, rosemary).
- Mujaddara (rice, lentils, caramelized onions, scallions, yogurt, paprika, cinnamon, coriander).
- Lentil bolognese (white mushrooms, green lentils, white wine, tomato passata, soy sauce).
For more curries, stews, and soups, check out our soups category page.
Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Optional: immersion blender or blender to make the soup extra creamy
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cans (15-ounce each) diced tomatoes
- 1 cup lentils uncooked, green or brown
- 1 teaspoon thyme dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- 1½ teaspoons salt or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or red pepper flakes
- 5 ounces spinach (about 4 to 5 cups)
- To a large pot or dutch oven, warm up the olive oil then add coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot, and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes stirring often.
- Add grated garlic and cumin and fry for one more minute, or until you smell their aroma.
- Add vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, dried lentils, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, or/and red pepper flakes.Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then crack the top open and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but still al dente. Stir occasionally.
- OPTIONAL STEP: if you like extra creamy soup, blend about 2 cups of it. You can do this with an immersion blender directly in the pot, or with a regular blender.
- Add the spinach and simmer for a few more minutes until they wilt and you are happy with the texture and consistency of the soup/lentils.
- Taste and adjust for salt. Serve it in a bowl with a slice of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Optionally, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice.
If you liked this lentil vegetable soup, you might also enjoy the following:
This soup was fun to make and super easy! I did the variation of adding turmeric and potatoes, which were a good addition. We had it for dinner with a side of fresh rolls 😋I would recommend this recipe to people for an easy, healthy meal!
That's wonderful, I'm excited that you tried the turmeric and potato version, we LOVE that variation too 🙂
Thanks so much for your comment - and have a wonderful week ahead!
This soup is delicious!! I especially loved the addition of fresh lemon juice. I have been looking for a good, simple lentil soup and this is absolutely perfect! Thank you! ❤️ Linda
Oh, I'm super happy you loved this soup, Linda!
It's become a weekly favorite of ours 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!
Have a great weekend!