Here’s a delicious, easy lentil vegetable soup with a flavorful, hearty tomato base and nourishing green or brown lentils.

This recipe is made with simple ingredients, is excellent for year-round weeknight dinners and meal prep, and is a healthy and wholesome homemade meal.

Lentil vegetable soup is rich in proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’ll keep you satiated and make you feel great.

Lentil vegetable soup in a white bowl with a silver spoon in the soup

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats.

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What is Lentil Vegetable Soup?

Easy lentil vegetable soup with hand holding pita bread

Since you all loved our classic lentil soup, Turkish lentil soup, Moroccan lentil soup, curry lentil soup, and red lentil soup, we are sure you’ll enjoy this lentil vegetable soup recipe.

It packs incredible flavor and nutrition; it’s ridiculously easy to make with simple pantry staples in one pot and with little hands-on time.

The lentils make the dish nutritious and fulfilling, packing it with texture, wholesome plant protein, iron, and heart and gut-healthy fiber.

Easy lentil vegetable soup and how to store it

The flavor base with onion, garlic, carrot, celery combined with oregano, thyme, cumin, and canned tomatoes make the vegetable lentil soup so flavorful you won’t believe there’s no meat and dairy in it.

Like our 20+ lentil recipes – think of lentil chili, Mujadara, lentil loaf, lentil tabbouleh, lentil pasta, and lentil curry – lentil vegetable soup is excellent for meal prep as lentils keep well for 4 to 5 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Inspired by Mediterranean and Italian flavors, this lentil soup recipe will feel comforting and familiar while excitingly new and original.

Ingredients & Substitutions for Vegetable Lentil Soup

Lentil vegetable soup ingredients

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Dried lentils

You can use dried green lentils, brown lentils, or black lentils for this lentil soup recipe. They cook in about 30 minutes and keep an al-dente texture we love.

Can you use canned lentils? Sure you can. But add them later as they tend to overcook and lose their bite.

Olive oil

We recommend extra virgin olive oil to make the flavor base.

Extra virgin olive oil has a higher polyphenols content, making 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 of French and Italian cooking for soups and stews. We use white or yellow onions.

As they gently sauté in the olive oil, they develop remarkable sweet, acidic, and umami-rich compounds that make the soup richer and tastier.

Substitute thinly sliced leek or shallots for the onions.

Garlic

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.

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; add one teaspoon at a time, taste, and adjust for more if required.

Vegetable broth

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 tastier.

Canned tomatoes

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.

Leafy greens

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 freshly ground black pepper. You can also add red pepper flakes should you like your soup with some heat.

Toppings

You can top the soup with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley or cilantro (coriander), quick pickled red onions, grated parmesan cheese, dairy-free cheese, homemade croutons, pita bread, or a thick slice of toasted crusty bread rubbed with fresh garlic.

Easy lentil vegetable soup with spinach leaves and pita bread on the side

How to Make Lentil Vegetable Soup

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

1. Start with the flavor base

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.

Add coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté them on medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Stir often to prevent the veggies from burning.

carrots and onion in a white pot frying

Add grated garlic, ground cumin, and sauté 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.

herbs and vegetables in a white Dutch oven and a wooden spoon

2. Simmer gently

Add the dry lentils to a sift and rinse them under running water to remove soil and debris.

Also, check for small stones that might hide between the lentils.

Add the lentils, vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the pot.

Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then crack the top open and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but still with a slight bite.

Stir occasionally to prevent the soup from sticking.

Note: Smaller lentils might cook faster; larger lentils might take a few minutes longer.

lentils and vegetables in a tomato soup and hand holding a wooden spoon

3. Make it creamy

If you like making an extra creamy lentil vegetable soup, blend about 2 cups.

We do this directly in the pot with an immersion blender, but you can also do so in a standing blender.

Pay attention if your pot is enameled, as the blender might scratch the bottom of the pot.

Note: This is an optional step, and the lentil vegetable soup is also delicious without blending it.

hand holding a blender and blending lentils

4. Add leafy greens

Stir in your leafy greens of choice (we use spinach here) and simmer for a few more minutes until the greens wilt (3 minutes for spinach – 8 minutes for kale).

Add more vegetable broth or water to reach your desired consistency, then taste and adjust for salt before serving.

hand holding a wooden spoon and stirring spinach into a soup

Serving Suggestions

Lentil vegetable soup is a satiating main course, but you can also serve it as a starter in smaller portions.

Remember to serve it with fresh lemon juice on top to boost flavor.

Optionally, serve it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, warm pita bread, focaccia, or a thick slice of toasted crusty bread.

Tip: Rub the warm toasted bread with fresh garlic to infuse it with aroma, then drizzle it with good quality EVO oil and a pinch of salt. That’s how this soup is eaten in Italy.

Easy lentil vegetable soup with pita bread and hand holding a silver spoon

You can also serve vegetable lentil soup with homemade croutons or with crunchy 10-minute oven-baked crostini to sop up the soup leftovers.

If you feel like adding a side dish, we can recommend the following:

Lentil vegetable soup in a white bowl with lemon wedges on the side

Variations

Moroccan lentil soup

Moroccan lentil soup with a silver spoon and pickled red onions

Moroccan lentil soup is Louise’s favorite soup and one of the most loved recipes on this blog.

It’s easy to make and combines earthy lentils with delicious North African spices and a fabulous hint of cinnamon.

This one’s delicious with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt, quick pickled red onions, fresh cilantro, and warm pita bread.

Check out our Moroccan lentil soup recipe.

Turmeric and potato lentil soup

Lentil Vegetable Soup with turmeric and bread

Add a teaspoon of turmeric and two medium-sized peeled and diced potatoes to this vegetable lentil soup for an Indian twist.

Sauté the turmeric with the cumin at the beginning of the recipe.

Add bite-sized diced potatoes with the lentils, which have the same cooking time.

Substitute butternut squash chunks, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin for potatoes.

The potatoes become beautifully tender and are infused with turmeric flavor. Also, lentils and turmeric are an excellent match, so we are happy to recommend this variation.

Italian lentil soup

Lentil soup with spoon and bread

Wholesome, hearty, and packed with Italian flavors, Tuscan kale, and herbs, this Italian lentil soup is our go-to 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.

Curry lentil soup

curry lentil soup with a slice of sourdough bread

Curry lentil soup is similar to lentil vegetable soup but adds tender potato chunks and curry powder for an extra je ne sais quoi.

You’ll love this take on lentil soup as it’s warming and comforting with an Indian twist.

Check out our curry lentil soup recipe.

Red lentil soup

Red lentil soup with garlic, lemon and rosemary

Don’t have green or brown lentils at hand? Make this split red lentil soup instead.

This 30-minute one-pot meal combines creamy split red lentils with aromatic herbs like rosemary, bay leaves, and cumin to create the perfect combination of earthy flavor, creamy texture, and wholesome nutrition.

Check out our red lentil soup recipe.

Tips

Cooking time: dry lentils have different cooking times, but generally, French green lentils, brown lentils, and black lentils cook in 30 to 45 minutes. Always taste the lentils to know if they are cooked, and be ready to add more liquid if they need to cook longer.

Creaminess: blending some of the lentils is a trick we learned from Italian and Indian cuisines to make lentil soups and stews extra creamy.

Are you using canned lentils? Canned lentils don’t need cooking. Drain and rinse them, then let them simmer in the soup for 10 to 15 minutes to infuse them with the flavor.

Questions

Do you need to soak lentils for soup?

Unlike dried beans and chickpeas, dried lentils don’t require soaking, so there is no need to soak lentils for soup.

We recommend rinsing the lentils with water to remove dirt and debris. Also, do a quick visual check to ensure no stones are hiding between the lentils.

dried lentils on a plate

Why is my lentil soup so thick?

Lentils absorb a lot of water as they cook. As a consequence, your lentil soup can get thick. To fix this, add more water or vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.

How to spice up bland lentil soup?

Lentils go well with several spices. For example, if your lentil soup is bland, spice it up with ground cumin, turmeric powder, red pepper flakes, or curry powder. Our curry lentil soup is an excellent example of how to use spices in lentil soup.

Fresh and dried herbs work well, too. Try rosemary, thyme, or bay leaves.

A squeeze of lemon juice or a tablespoon of red wine vinegar stirred in the soup can also help flavor.

But ultimately, if your lentil soup is bland, you’ll need to add more salt to make it taste good.

Lentil vegetable soup in a white bowl with lemon wedges on the side

Storage & Make Ahead

Make Ahead: Lentil vegetable soup is excellent for meal prep as you can refrigerate it for several days or freeze it for months. Also, the soup tastes better on the second and third days than 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 & Reheat: thaw in the refrigerator over several hours or in the microwave with a thawing function. Warm it 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 Lentil Recipes

Are you looking for more lentil ideas? Here are some of our best lentil recipes for you:

Check out our compilation with more than 20 delicious lentil recipes.

More Soups with Legumes

Here are some more recipe ideas with wholesome and delicious legumes:

For more curries, stews, and soups, check out our soups category page.

Lentil vegetable soup with spinach and a silver spoon

Lentil Vegetable Soup

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 57 votes
Here’s a delicious, easy lentil vegetable soup with a flavorful, hearty tomato base and nourishing green or brown lentils.
This recipe is made with simple ingredients, is excellent for year-round weeknight dinners and meal prep, and is a healthy and wholesome homemade meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed or grated
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (15-ounce each) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dried lentils green or brown, uncooked, rinsed with water
  • 1 teaspoon thyme dried
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • teaspoons salt or more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 5 ounces spinach about 4 to 5 cups

Instructions 

  • Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large pot then add 2 carrots, 1 onion, 1 stalk celery (all coarsely chopped) and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes stirring often.
    carrots and onion in a white pot frying
  • Add 1 teaspoon cumin and 4 cloves garlic (pressed or grated) and sauté for one more minute or until fragrant.
    herbs and vegetables in a white Dutch oven and a wooden spoon
  • Add 6 cups vegetable broth, 2 cans (15-ounce each) diced tomatoes, 1 cup dried lentils, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1½ teaspoons salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper.
    Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then crack the top open and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but with a slight bite. Stir occasionally.
    lentils and vegetables in a tomato soup and hand holding a wooden spoon
  • OPTIONAL STEP: If you like making an extra creamy lentil vegetable soup, blend about 2 cups of it.
    We do this directly in the pot with an immersion blender, but you can also do so in a standing blender.
    hand holding a blender and blending lentils
  • Add 5 ounces spinach and simmer for a few more minutes until they wilt.
    Add more vegetable broth or water if necessary to reach your desired consistency, then taste and adjust for salt before serving.
    hand holding a wooden spoon and stirring spinach into a soup

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Make this a meal by serving it with fresh lemon juice on top to boost flavor.
    Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and pair it with warm pita bread, focaccia, or a thick slice of toasted crusty bread rubbed with garlic.
    Easy lentil vegetable soup with a silver spoon in the bowl and bread on the side

Video

30-min Lentil Vegetable Soup

Notes

Nutritional information is an estimate for 1 serving of lentil vegetable soup out of 4 servings without bread.
USING CANNED LENTILS?
No problem! Drain and rinse 2 small cans of canned lentils and add them in the soup 15 minutes after the broth and tomatoes start simmering. Canned lentils can only take about 1o to 15 minutes of simmering before falling apart. You can also use canned beans or chickpeas.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make Ahead: Lentil vegetable soup is excellent for meal prep as you can refrigerate it for several days or freeze it for months. Also, the soup tastes better on the second and third days than 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 & Reheat: thaw in the refrigerator over several hours or in the microwave with a thawing function. Warm it in a pot on the stovetop for a few minutes or in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid reheating it multiple times.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 1294mg, Dietary Fiber: 23g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 8758IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 37mg, Vitamin E: 4mg, Vitamin K: 194µg, Calcium: 169mg, Folate: 364µg, Iron: 8mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 129mg, Zinc: 3mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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