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
4.97 stars (162 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 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
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
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Comments

  1. I love the flavor of this soup but regardless of whether I use green or brown lentils, I end up having to add more broth and cook for much longer in order for the lentils to be tender. What can I do differently? Is there a particular brand that works better than others? I’m using Whole Foods green lentils mostly.

    1. There is no particular brand, I use whatever I can find, often generic store brands or bulk. You might have the soup boiling too hard, causing the broth to cook off too quickly. Try having the soup simmer, but not be boiling hard. And it’s totally fine to add more broth or water to taste. Some may prefer a thicker soup, others like it thinner and either is fine.

    2. It also depends so much on whether you live in a hard / soft water region. If your region has hard water, legumes will take so much longer to soften.

  2. Delicious and pretty easy to make. I have made this soup 3 tines now. Each time it’s great. I used the jar veggie concentrated seasoned stock. I have experienced that the salt in the stock could be too much so I taste at the end without adding any salt in the cooking process. Definitely a go to. Mum loves it too!

  3. Hello two questions. Do you need to soak the lentils beforehand? And aalso I dont like lemons or limes could you add vinegar as a replacement for that or would that be weird?

    1. I do not soak my lentils, however, you could. You could replace the lemon with a mild vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar. Enjoy!

  4. This soup is delicious! I made it exactly as the recipe and it is so easy to make and tastes so good. Will definitely be making this one often.

    1. I don’t think red peppers would work as well since the canned tomatoes and their juices are part of the base of the soup. You can certainly use the peppers in addition to the tomatoes, but I wouldn’t recommend the substitution.

  5. IAM Scottish and I put loads of carrots in mine, does onion’s lower the time you can keep it frozen thanks

  6. Hi Nora,

    I have some already cooked lentils. I’m sure I should reduce the liquid since not cooking the lentils from scratch.
    Any idea on how much to reduce liquid if using precooked lentils

    1. Came here to ask the same thing! Trader Joe’s didn’t have uncooked lentils last few weeks so I bough their precooked ones

    2. Taught my 3 year grand daughter how to make your Lentil soup for her mom and dad and she did great will post pictures .what a great memory we made together. She said she had so much fun and sorry she almost cut my finger while cutting spinach..lol

      1. Sounds like a fun memory, and I’m glad your finger didn’t get cut! Thank for sharing your wonderful review and fun feedback!

  7. This is my favorite and go to recipe for lentils. It makes a lot so it’s good to have leftovers for a few days and tastes great reheated. I add 3 cups extra of vegetable broth because I like it soupy, I also add a couple big spoonful of vegetable bouillon, and cayenne because I like it a little spicy. 10/10 recipe. Filling, healthy, super tasty and satisfying. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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