This vegan lentil soup recipe is so delicious and is the perfect hearty soup for cold weather. This is a great easy recipe that uses simple ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. The best part is that it cooks up in one pot and uses fresh vegetables that makes this one of my go to recipes for soup season.
Classic lentil soup is one of those that you make when the days are cold and you need something hearty and satisfying. Plus, it’s full of veggies that you can get even in the middle of winter.
Why You’ll Love this Lentil Soup
- Hearty bowl of soup
- Lots of veggies and bold spices
- Simple and inexpensive ingredients
- Made in one pot
Lentil soup is a pantry friendly recipe with nothing fancy. Just simple ingredients mixed together in the proper proportions for a delicious soup. Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need.
- Lentils: The best lentils to use in this soup are either brown lentils or green lentils. I don’t recommend red lentils as they are too soft.
- Veggies: Sweet or yellow onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and spinach (or baby spinach) all come together to make this a really hidden veggie packed bowl of soup! I like to use diced tomatoes but crushed also works. For extra flavor, add a few chopped sweet potatoes into the soup.
- Spices: This soup uses a blend of cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, with salt and black pepper to make it delicious. Some chopped fresh parsley added at the end tastes great.
- Lemon juice: The secret ingredient that isn’t so secret. Adding lemon juice or some grated lemon zest to the lentil soup makes it brighter and really brings out the flavors of the spices. Use fresh lemons when you can but from a bottle also works! All out of lemons? Try adding a splash of orange juice instead!
- Vegetable broth: You can use your favorite stock to make this soup, or even just water. I’ve even used chicken broth on days that weren’t vegetarian and it tastes great.
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
Start by heating olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Let this cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become more translucent.
While the veggies are cooking, rinse the lentils to make sure that there are no twigs, rocks, bugs, or leaves in them. Yes, I’ve found all of those things in my lentils! Which is why I always remind you to rinse them well. I even spread the lentils out onto a baking sheet and sort through them just to make sure.
After the onions have cooked down, it’s time to add everything else to the pot, minus the lemon juice and spinach! Add in the tomatoes, lentils, spices, and veggie broth.
Cook this on the stove for about 45 minutes until the lentils have fully cooked and the soup has thickened. You may need to add a little water if the lentils are soaking up a lot of the stock.
Finally, stir in the chopped spinach and the fresh lemon juice. Give it a good stir and remove it from the heat. The residual heat of the soup will cook the spinach without overcooking it.
Serve into bowls and serve! Some of my favorite things to add are red chili flakes for a spicy kick, an extra squeeze of lemon on top, and a big slice of some crusty bread or homemade rolls.
Tip! Want to change up the greens? You can totally swap kale for the spinach in this recipe. Just add the kale after 35 minutes of cooking since kale needs a longer time to cook then spinach.
I recommend using brown lentils for this soup. Red or yellow lentils will affect the final look and color of the soup, not to mention red lentils cook in a third of the time. Stick with brown lentils for this soup.
Nope! Just give them a really good rinse before putting them into the soup. Sometimes there are bits of twigs or leaves in the lentils. One time I even found a tiny rock! So just give them a good look over before adding them to the soup.
Yes you can! Pop all the ingredients in the slow cooker and heat on low for 6-8 hours.
Yep! Start on the saute setting to get the onions, celery, and carrots cooking. Then add the remaining ingredients to the pot and give it a good stir. Cook on high pressure for about 12 minutes and then manually release the steam. Enjoy!
How to Store
Fridge: Store this soup in a large airtight container for up to 5 days. It makes for a great meal prep for dinners or lunches.
Freezer: You can totally freeze soup! Fill up a freezer friendly container with the fully cooked and cooled soup. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, allow the soup to thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat in a pot on the stove over low-medium heat until warm.
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- Large pot
- measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Veggie peeler
- Mesh strainer
- 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
- ½ onion diced
- 1-2 garlic cloves diced
- 1 cup carrots diced (about 2 medium carrots)
- 1 cup celery diced (about 2-3 celery stalks)
- 14 oz diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup lentils brown or green
- 3 cups stock
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika sweet not smoked
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 cups spinach rough chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. If you are not using olive oil, simply steam the veggies in some vegetable stock.
- Cook. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the onions are becoming translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Rinse. Make sure you rinse the lentils well!
- Add. Add the lentils, tomatoes, spices, stock, and salt and pepper.
- Cook. Cook the soup for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and the soup has cooked down.
- Add the chopped spinach and fresh lemon juice. Remove it from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the spinach to cook. Enjoy!
- How to Store Lentil Soup
- Fridge: Store this soup in a large container for up to 5 days. It makes for a great meal prep for dinners or lunches.
- Freezer: You can totally freeze soup! Fill up a freezer friendly container with the fully cooked and cooled soup. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, allow the soup to thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat in a pot on the stove over low-medium heat until warm.