Jan 6, 2024
Lentil Soup Recipe – Love and Lemons

Meet the BEST lentil soup recipe! Made with dried lentils, fresh vegetables, flavorful spices, and hearty greens, it’s simple, nourishing, and delicious.


Lentil soup


This lentil soup recipe might surprise you. Sure, it’s simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring.

This lentil soup is packed with hearty greens, tender vegetables, and fiber- and protein-rich lentils. Fresh herbs and spices fill it with complex flavor, and a splash of vinegar adds a delicious tangy kick.

It’s not just my best lentil soup recipe—it’s one of my best recipes, period. It’s been a staple in my rotation for years. I love that it’s easy to make with mostly pantry ingredients and that it’s nourishing, warming, and satisfying. If you ask me, it’s the perfect healthy dinner for a winter weeknight (save any leftovers for lunch the next day!). I hope you love this classic lentil soup as much as I do.


Lentil soup recipe ingredients


Lentil Soup Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this lentil soup recipe:

  • Lentils, of course! I recommend using green or French green lentils because they hold their shape in the soup, adding satisfying texture. Brown lentils are also a fine option. Don’t use red lentils here—they’re too mushy for this recipe.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • Onion, garlic, carrot, and celery – They create the soup’s aromatic base.
  • Fresh kale – You’ll use the whole leaves, stems and all!
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – I love the smoky flavor that fire-roasted tomatoes add to this soup. In a pinch, regular diced tomatoes will work here too!
  • Vegetable broth – Make homemade vegetable broth, or use store-bought.
  • Fresh thyme – For citrusy, woodsy flavor. I like to bundle whole sprigs together with kitchen twine. Then, I add the bundle to the soup like a bay leaf, removing it before serving. Bundling the sprigs like this is SO much quicker than picking and measuring the leaves.
  • Cumin – The secret ingredient! It adds savory, earthy depth of flavor.
  • White wine vinegar – It gives the soup a bright, tangy kick.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Variations

Don’t have these exact ingredients on hand? These swaps work nicely:

  • Replace the kale with another leafy green like fresh spinach or Swiss chard.
  • Use 1 teaspoon dried thyme instead of the fresh sprigs.
  • Replace the celery with 1 small fennel bulb, diced.
  • No vinegar? No problem. Finish the soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!


Sautéing onion, carrot, and celery in Dutch oven


How to Make Lentil Soup

This lentil soup recipe is easy to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, sauté the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, kale stems, and cumin. Season with salt and several grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften, about 8 minutes.


Adding diced tomatoes to pot


Next, simmer the soup. Add the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, and broth.


Adding lentils to soup pot with vegetables


Cover the soup and cook until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes or so. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.


How to make lentil soup - pouring broth into pot


Finally, add the greens. Cook until they wilt, about 5 minutes, and then season to taste.

Serve the lentil soup in bowls topped with garnishes like fresh parsley, grated Parmesan, and/or red pepper flakes. Enjoy with crusty bread!

Love cooking soup in the Instant Pot? I have an Instant Pot version of this recipe! Check out my Instant Pot Lentil Soup.


Stirring kale leaves into pot of lentil soup


How to Store Lentil Soup

Got leftover soup? You’re in luck! It will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

I actually like this soup better leftover. The flavor only improves as it sits in the fridge!

Can you freeze lentil soup?

Yes, this vegan lentil soup is freezer-friendly! Allow it to cool to room temperature, and then seal it in airtight containers or jars, leaving an inch for the soup to expand at the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.


Best lentil soup recipe


More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this lentil soup, try one of these nourishing soup recipes next:

Best Lentil Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 4 to 6

This easy lentil soup recipe is healthy and delicious, filled with fresh veggies, herbs, and spices. Serve it with crusty bread for a simple weeknight meal! Skip the cheese to make this recipe vegan.
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 small or 3 large kale leaves, stems finely diced, leaves chopped (8 cups)
  • Heaping ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup dry green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 12 fresh thyme sprigs, bundled
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving, optional

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, kale stems, cumin, salt, and several grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.

  • Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, and broth. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add the kale leaves and cook for 5 minutes, or until wilted.

  • Remove the thyme bundle and season to taste. Serve topped with the parsley, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan, if desired.

Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. If it thickens too much in the fridge, stir in a little water while you reheat it to reach your desired soup consistency. This soup also freezes well.

 

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