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

Hearty Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Vegetarian lentil soup recipe 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!


  • 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 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chopped parsley for serving, optional


  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot add the oil and heat over medium-high heat. 
  2. When the oil is hot add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the vegetable broth to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the lentils, tomatoes, cumin, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine well. 
  6. 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.
  7. When the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaves and discard them, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  8. 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. 
  • This 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. You can also sub the paprika for curry powder. Feel free to play with the spices to make this dish your own, it's a great one to play with. 
  • This makes a lot of soup but the leftovers freeze very well!
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lentil soup, lentil soup recipe, how to make lentil soup, vegan lentil soup, vegan lentil soup recipe, vegetarian lentil soup, vegetarian lentil soup recipe