Learn how to make a delicious, hearty, and healthy lentil soup. It has very few ingredients, is super-easy to make, and is so utterly satisfying.
We all know that there’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot soup on a cold Winter day. I am a particular fan of hearty soups with lots of soft stewed vegetables. And I really like legumes in my soup. They’re so satisfying and healthy.
When I’m trying to do a meatless dinner, like if we’re doing Meatless Mondays, I’ll often make a big pot of a legume-based soup, which is how today’s lentil soup recipe originated.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Lentil Soup?
If you’ve never had lentil soup before, it’s a bit like split pea soup, but with a less split-pea flavor. Lentils have a less strong flavor than split green peas do.
Lentils have a mild flavor and they tend to take on the flavor of whatever you cook them with. That makes for a very palatable protein source, assuming you jazz up that flavor well with great seasoning and spices.
There are multiple kinds of lentils like little green French lentils and red lentils that break down wonderfully when cooked. For this lentil soup recipe, we’re going to use brown lentils, which in your grocery store may just be labeled as lentils. You can find them in the aisle with other dried beans.
Making Lentil Soup
To make lentil soup you sauté some chopped onions, carrots, and celery in a bit of oil in a big pot. I use a 6 quart stainless steel heavy-bottomed pot. It’s about the size of a standard Dutch oven, if you’re trying to picture it.
Next you add the lentils, some canned diced tomatoes (with the juice), seasonings (I went with chili powder, coriander, cumin, and garlic powder) and some stock or broth. Both stock and broth work well in this recipe.
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients into the pot, then increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once there, drop it to low, cover it and simmer it, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. That takes 25-30 minutes. Then taste it and add salt if needed.
One more thing, as it is, this soup is vegetarian (and even vegan) if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. If you want to make it meatier though instead, you can add some diced ham, cooked bacon, or chopped kielbasa when you add in the stock.
Stocks And Broths In Soup
The thing to note about using stocks and broths is that their salt content varies by type and by brand. If you use an unsalted variety, you’ll probably want to add a bit of salt when you add the broth, about 1/2 teaspoon. You might wonder why you’re buying unsalted broth if you’re just going to add salt anyhow. It’s because you get to control the amount of salt in the dish.
If you use a variety that already contains salt, don’t add any salt during the cooking time. Instead, wait until the soup is done and then taste it. If it needs a bit of salt, add it then.
Should I Puree My Soup?
Finally, you have an option. You can serve it as is, in which case it will look like the pictures in this post. Or, you can go in with an immersion blender (the kind that you stick into the pot to blend, rather than transferring into a traditional blender) and puree it.
You can puree halfway so that there are still bits with texture or you can get it totally smooth depending on your desired consistency. I like it really chunky (not pureed at all) or totally smooth. I’m not such a fan of the in between. But if you are, do it! Enjoy!
More Easy Soup Recipes
Learn how to make a delicious, hearty and healthy lentil soup. It has very few ingredients, is super-easy to make and is so utterly satisfying.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 lb. lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Measure the olive oil into a large pot or Dutch oven and warm it over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Stir until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the lentils, diced tomatoes, broth, chili powder, garlic powder, coriander and cumin. Stir. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Serve as is or use a hand blender to puree it to the desired texture. I like it both not blended at all and blended very smooth.
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This post originally appeared in January 2017 and was revised and republished in October 2023.