Hearty Lentil Soup Recipe

5 from 2 votes

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A Hearty Lentil Soup that is simple, healthy, and filling – the trifecta! It’s made from pantry staples like onions, carrots, and celery and cooked in broth with some tomatoes and spices that add delicious flavor.

Round wooden platter with a pot and two bowls of vegetarian lentil soup and French bread on the side.
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Whether you are trying to cook lighter or just warm up on a cold night – vegetarian lentil soup is for you. Sometimes the most basic recipes turn out to be the best. Plus, it’s a winning combination of being healthy and still tasting amazing. 

This soup is perfect with a slice of Rustic Bread and a simple Chef Salad. And if you want to incorporate more lentils into your life, you must try Spicy Lentils with Sausage, Lentil Tacos, and Lentil Curry with Butternut Squash.

Vegetarian lentil soup topped with parsley in a white bowl with a spoon in it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a soup that is super easy to make. 
  • The ingredients are budget friendly
  • It’s packed with protein thanks to simple lentils.
  • Is as delicious as leftovers the next day.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Onion, carrots, and celery: Or look for a package of mirepoix at your local grocery store. 
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable broth
  • Lentils: Either brown or green work the best in this recipe.
  • Can of crushed tomatoes
  • Cumin, paprika, dried thyme, dried bay leaves
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Fresh parsley: Optional as a garnish on top of a bowl of the soup.  

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Feel free to play with the spices to make this dish your own, it’s a great one to play with. It’s hard to mess up because Hearty Lentil Soup is SO flexible! 

  • If you like a little lemon in it, add some of the lemon zest and additional lemon juice before serving (it gives the soup a nice bright flavor). 
  • You can add greens like spinach or kale just before serving so that they wilt just a bit. 
  • Vegetable, beef, chicken, or turkey broth all work well in this soup. 
  • You can use curry powder for the paprika to change up the flavor.  

How to Make Hearty Lentil Soup

  • Step #1. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion, carrots, and celery when the oil is hot. Cook for about 5 minutes. 
  • Step #2. Add the garlic to the pot and stir it for about 30 seconds or until it’s fragrant. 
  • Step #3. Put the broth in the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot. 
  • Step #4. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the pot to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. 

Recipe FAQs

What kind of lentils should I use?

For this particular soup, I recommend using green or brown lentils. These will hold their shape well even after being cooked. Red lentils break down a little too much for this recipe. 

Can I use chicken broth in this soup?

Yep! This lentil soup is really flexible. If you don’t need the soup to be vegetarian, you can use any kind of broth or stock. It turns out great every time regardless of whether you use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth as the base. 

Do the lentils need to be soaked?

Lentils don’t need to be soaked but you should rinse them to get rid of anything that might be on them and check through them for any small rocks. 

Are lentils good for you?

There are many health benefits to eating lentils. They are high in protein, rich in fiber, and low in calories. They also contain folate, iron, phosphorus and potassium. I think they are definitely an underrated food and I love using them!

Vegetarian lentil soup in large pot with wood spoon in it.

Expert Tips

  • To thicken this soup, pulse an immersion blender in the soup pot a few times or until it reaches your desired thickness. 
  • Feel free to play with the flavor of this soup by adding some lemon zest and more juice before serving or switch out the paprika for curry powder. 
  • Freeze the leftovers in containers as individual servings so you have easy lunches. This soup makes a big batch. 
Round wooden platter with a pot and two bowls of vegetarian lentil soup and French bread on the side.

More Soup Recipes to Consider

platter with a pot and two bowls of vegetarian lentil soup and French bread on the side
5 from 2 votes

Hearty Lentil Soup Recipe

Hearty lentil soup is made with lots of vegetables, brown or green lentils, spices, and just a bit of time simmering on the stove. It's hearty and filling and really easy to make plus it's healthy and inexpensive!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 12


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 large ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups dried brown or green lentils
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes, 14 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chopped parsley for serving, optional
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  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot add the oil and heat over medium-high heat. 
  • When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  • Add the vegetable broth to the pot and stir scraping the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the lentils, tomatoes, cumin, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine well. 
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering. Place the lid on the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through, about 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • When the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaves and discard them, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the soup hot. 


  • You can substitute any broth or stock that you like for the vegetable broth on this recipe. 
  • If you would like to thicken the soup a bit feel free to use a stick blender to blend it a little or put 2 cups of the soup in a blender, blend until smooth, and then return the blended soup to the pot and stir to combine. 
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days. 
  • This makes a lot of soup and the leftovers freeze very well! Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. 


Serving: 1 of 12 servings, Calories: 154kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 877mg, Potassium: 472mg, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2515IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 3mg
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