It’s true – this really is The Best Lentil Soup you’ll ever make! It’s all whipped up in one pot with simple and inexpensive ingredients like fresh veggies, bold spices, and of course plenty of lentils. It’s a wonderfully thick soup that’s equal parts filling and flavorful!

close up of a bowl of soup

Summer is oh so slowly fading away… Which means it’s time to start whipping out all of the best soup recipes! Cozy up with something warm, delicious, and vegan this fall and winter. Some of the best soup recipes include (but are certainly not limited to) Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Spicy Peanut Soup, and Instant Pot Tomato Soup!

The very best lentil soup

When it comes to Lentil Soups, they don’t get much more satisfying than this one! It’s a bare bones soup, meaning you won’t find any unnecessary frills or complicated steps here. It’s a classic recipe that’s the definition of tried and true!

With that being said, it’s also anything but bland. The medley of mouthwatering spices and mix of fresh veggies keep this thick Lentil Soup plenty flavorful. Oh, and that squeeze of fresh lemon juice right at the end is like the cherry on top!

ladle holding soup from pot

What makes it the best?

  • The ingredients are inexpensive! In fact, you likely already have the majority of these ingredients in your kitchen now. If you don’t, this recipe is a great excuse to start stockpiling all of your inexpensive cooking essentials! 
  • It’s so filling. The amount of protein-packed lentils and nutritious fresh veggies in this thick soup make it wonderfully filling! Trust me, this Lentil Soup always hits the spot and satisfies everyone around the table. 
  • The flavor is truly delicious! Smoked paprika, coriander, cumin, and just a touch of salt create a flavorful medley of spices that make this soup downright delicious. And since you’re making this soup at home, you can alter the spices however you see fit!
big pot of lentil soup with spinach

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Olive Oil – Avocado oil can be used instead. 
  • Onion – Feel free to use a white or yellow onion, either one will work well.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic will yield the best flavor here. 
  • Carrots – When you chop them up, make sure they’re in small enough pieces to fit onto your spoon with the other ingredients. 
  • Celery – Rinse your celery with water and pat it dry before chopping. That way, there’s no dirt or residue still on it. 
  • Tomatoes – Use a can of either crushed or diced tomatoes. Either one will get the job done. 
  • Lentils – You can use green or brown lentils – whichever you prefer! 
  • Vegetable Broth – Use a low sodium vegetable broth for a less salty taste. 
  • Spices – You’ll need a medley of ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, and just a light sprinkle of salt to make this Lentil Soup supremely flavorful! 
  • Baby Spinach – Slice your spinach into ribbons so it’s easier to eat in your spoonfuls. Also, you can substitute this for kale if you’d like.
  • Lemon – Make sure you’re using freshly squeezed lemon juice only – nothing from concentrate! 
bowl of lentils, dry

How to make lentil soup

Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4-5 minutes.

pot with onion, carrot and celery

Now add the can of tomatoes (with juices), lentils, vegetable broth, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Stir to incorporate everything.

Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. If desired, use an immersion blender to slightly blend and thicken it.

immersion blender in pot with soup

Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. It will only take a minute for the spinach to wilt. Season with salt to taste.

spinach being added to lentil soup

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I change the consistency of Lentil Soup? Yep! For a thinner soup, simply add more water or vegetable broth until the desired consistency is reached. You can also blend it just a few times with an immersion blender for a slightly creamier soup. 
  • Can I freeze Lentil Soup? You sure can – and it freezes so well! In a freezer safe food storage container, your leftover Lentil Soup will stay fresh for up to 3 months. You can keep it in one large container or several small containers for individual portions. 
  • Can I swap the spinach for kale? Yes, just make sure that you cook the kale for about 10 minutes longer than you would the spinach so it’s nice and tender. 

What to serve lentil soup with

I like to serve this hearty soup with some Dutch Oven Bread and perhaps a Vegan Caesar Salad.

two bowls of lentil soup with lemons on white background

Do you love lentils as much as I do?

Here are a few of my favorite recipes using lentils:

square image of a bowl of soup with a spoon in it
4.96 stars (120 ratings)

The Best Lentil Soup

It’s true – this really is The Best Lentil Soup you’ll ever make! It’s all whipped up in one pot with simple and inexpensive ingredients like fresh veggies, bold spices, and of course plenty of lentils.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 14- ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry green or brown lentils
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 cups baby spinach, sliced into ribbons or kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Now add the can of tomatoes (with juices), lentils, vegetable broth, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Stir to incorporate everything.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened. For a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to blend a few times in the pot. Alternatively, add 1-2 cups of the soup to a regular blender, blend until smooth and then return to the pot.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. It will only take a minute for the spinach to wilt. Season with salt to taste.

Video

Notes

  1. For a thinner soup, simply add more water or vegetable broth until the desired consistency is reached. 
  2. Leftover soup will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  3. This soup freezes well. Either freeze in individual containers or a large container for quick future meals.
  4. May substitute kale for the spinach, but you will need to cook the kale in the soup about 10 more minutes to get it tender. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 743mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4333IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I absolutely LOVE this recipe, I have made it countless times and it is always delicious. I was wondering if you could make this soup in a slow cooker, would it use the same measurements?

    1. I’m glad you love the lentil soup, thank you! I haven’t tried it, but I would use the same measurements. It will probably take either 4 hours on high, or 7-8 on low.

  2. This soup gets made once a week in our household- we love it! And the recipe is easy enough that my husband makes it! Your blog is my go to for recipes, they are simple and absolutely delicious! 

    1. Hi Lindsey! I’m thrilled that my blog is your go to for recipes! I’m glad you and your family love the soup! Thank you for using my recipes, and for sharing your wonderful review!

  3. Hi Nora! This looks so yummy! Do you know how I might be able to make this in a pressure cooker/instant pot?

    1. Thanks Aliya! Yes, it works in the IP. You can sauté the vegetables in the IP using the sauté feature. Then add everything else, except the spinach and lemon juice, stir, seal and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, about 10-15 minutes, then carefully remove the lid, stir in the spinach and lemon juice and enjoy. Hope that helps!

  4. Loved this soup! I stuck to the recipe except for the lentils – I used red as that was what was in my cupboard. It was only once it was bubbling away that I read the note NOT to use red lentils 😛 But to be honest the flavour was delicious and the texture (I blended about half) with the red lentils was fantastic. I will try next time with the right lentils but will also be making it with red lentils again too :).
    Thanks again for a fantastic recipe, Nora! You’re a gem.

    1. I’m so glad you loved the lentil soup! It’s such a forgiving recipe, mostly red lentils just sort of disappear when cooked so I’m sure it was a bit smoother than the original, but that’s fine. 🙂

  5. I have made this soup many, many times! It is consistently delicious and a big hit in our home. It freezes nicely! Thank you, thank you!

  6. Hi Nora! How would you adjust the recipe using pre-cooked lentils? (I have some in hand from TJs waiting to be used!)

    1. Hmmm I haven’t tried it, but I would probably use less broth, maybe 5 cups to start and add more as needed. I would try to use 3-4 cups of cooked lentils in place of dry. Hope that helps!

  7. Been making this every week that I have time over the winter. We eliminate the crushed tomatoes and just add a little extra vegetable stock. We also add mushrooms, a potato and turmeric powder. Today, I added ginger to the garlic sautee step. Another slight variation which is also delicious! When serving, my husband sprinkles parmesan on his and I sprinkle nutritional yeast. Either goes great. Thank you so much for this pragmatic, customizable-yet-also-delicious-as-it-is recipe which has helped us hate winter less.

    1. Hi Ana. I love that my lentil soup helped you hate winter less! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, it means a lot to me.

  8. Made this with potatoes added as well as topped with avocado. The avocado added a bit of creaminess and mild nuttiness. You are right the Lemon juice really adds something. Loved it! Definitely doing again 

  9. I quite liked this soup! Tasty and easy to make. I’ve made red lentil soup before, but this was my first time cooking with green lentils.

    I didn’t have celery so I added some celery salt. Also added a bit of fresh asparagus. Looking forward to trying a different variation next time.

        1. Thank you for using my recipes, Lizzet! I’m glad you and your family love them! Thanks a lot for taking your time to share your kind review!

  10. I followed the directions and the soup lived up to all the great reviews! It was so good. This beat out another lentil soup recipe I tried month ago.

  11. Thank you for this recipe! It’s so rich and flavorful that you don’t miss the absence of meat. I didn’t have any smoked paprika on hand so I substituted chili powder and it worked great.  I will try the paprika next time though. 

  12. As usual, Nora crushed it. I’ve never really eaten lentils growing up and I’m trying to incorporate them more. This soup was great! I added about 3/4 cup of leftover marinara sauce that needed used up and a tablespoon of miso paste.

  13. I’ve made this at least 3x already. I love lentil soup and this is fundamental cooking for legumes. I personally double the vegetables and I soak the lentils overnight. I’m just in the habit of pre-soaking my legumes. Sometimes I add these miniature baby shitake mushrooms-they look so cute! Thank you for the recipe. 

    1. Its a snow day here and want to make recipe today don’t have spinach or kale in house will turnip greens be ok to substitute????

  14. I just made this for dinner and it’s freaking delicious. My partener ate FIVE bowls. I added bay leaves and thyme since I didn’t have any coriander. So easy 10/10 would reccomend

  15. I made this and went on my first vegan zoom share recipes meetup. I wish they all could have tasted it!  Delicious 
    My only request is along with the nutrition info I wish you state what a serving is and how many it serves, how many ounces does it make?  I soak and rinsed my lentils before putting them into the soup. Was that right? 
    So, how many ounces does it make , how many ounces is a serving and what are the calories etc.  thanks. Excited to try your other recipes ?

    1. Hi Janet! I’m so glad you enjoyed the lentil soup. You don’t need to soak or rinse your lentils before adding them to the pot, but it’s fine that you did. The serving size estimate (since everyone has a different appetite) is 8, and is listed in the recipe card, above the ingredients, along with how long it will take to make it. I don’t have an exact breakdown of how many ounces total it makes, if you want to figure out serving sizes, you would need to divide the soup into 8 portions. Hope that helps, thank you!

  16. Excellent recipe!  I made it exactly as suggested and my family loved it:)
    Especially my youngest daughter who is SUPER picky!!! Huge thank you!!!

  17. Nora, this lentil soup is excellent. I gave it a 4 out of 5 because maybe there is a better vegan lentil soup out there. The spices blend well and give it a good broth flavor. I used water to fry the veggies, no oil. Instead of lemon, I used lime. I may heat the soup on the stove tomorrow to make the lentils softer. I like them firm too. Thanks.

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