This soup recipe has been a long time coming! Over the years, I’ve made some lackluster lentil soups that never saw the light of day on this website. No vegetarian food blog would be complete without a proper lentil soup, though, so I’ve been perfecting one of my own lately.
Here it is. My lentil soup is made with mostly pantry ingredients but includes hearty greens and a squeeze of lemon for bright, fresh flavor. It’s seasoned with a few of my favorite spices and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Honestly, it’s the best lentil soup I’ve ever had.
I’ve seriously overindulged over the past couple of weeks here in Austin, Texas. This much-needed soup is helping me balance out all the tacos and tequila (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). It’s the best.
I have to remind myself that it’s still February when I look out the window and see only sunshine and green cactus. I heard there’s snow on the ground elsewhere and it’s below freezing back home in Kansas City, though.
If you need more hot soups to hold you over, check out all my soup and stew recipes here! And don’t miss my lentil minestrone recipe in my cookbook—if you’re a fan of this soup, you’re going to love it.
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Vegan Lentil Soup
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This simple vegan lentil soup recipe comes together quickly with mostly pantry ingredients. Be sure to have your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking! Recipe yields four large bowls of soup, or six more modest servings.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed
- Juice of ½ to 1 medium lemon, to taste
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
- Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
- Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot and add the chopped greens. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking.
- Remove the pot from heat and stir in the juice of half of a lemon. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. Serve immediately. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).
Soup recipe roughly based on America’s Test Kitchen’s lentil soup in The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, with reference to The First Mess’ favourite lentil soup.
If you love this recipe: You might enjoy my hearty vegetarian chili, best black bean soup and quinoa vegetable soup. If you love lentils, check out more delicious lentil recipes here!