This easy vegan lentil soup recipe is made delicious with potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Easy lentil soup recipes are begging to be part of your weekly meal planning. Make it on the weekend and enjoy it for lunches and dinners all week long. Made with brown lentils and everyday ingredients, this is an affordable meal.
Shawn described this lentil soup as a surprising instance where something healthy actually tastes delicious, too. So, that just about sums up my work here today. Marly out!
You may be wondering, is lentil soup vegan? Even well-meaning home cooks may THINK they’re making vegan or vegetarian lentil soup but may include things like chicken broth or beef broth. It’s always good to ask about ingredients.
Of course, when you make it yourself, there’s no guess-work involved!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Lentils are small and therefore don’t have to be soaked before cooking, making them a perfect plant-based soup to serve
- Using tomato paste contributes to a thick sauce and adds tomato flavor
- Adding carrots and potatoes adds texture and color to this soup
- Chopped frozen spinach contributes beautiful color, flavor, and nutrition to every bite.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need:
- Aromatics — We’ll cook onion and garlic in some olive oil
- Vegetables — Carrots and potatoes (I used red potatoes) are favorite veggies
- Vegetable broth — I prefer to use Better than Bouillon Vegetarian here
- Stewed Tomatoes — You’ll need a 14.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes
- Tomato paste — A bit of tomato paste adds thickness and tomato flavor
- Tamari — This is a gluten-free soy sauce, or you can substitute soy sauce
- Spices — For this soup, curry powder and ground turmeric are best. You could add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin to give it a chili flavor.
- Lentils — I prefer simple brown lentils because they’re affordable and accessible and cook up perfectly.
- Cooked Brown Rice — You can cook brown rice yourself or buy pre-cooked packaged brown rice
- Spinach — I add a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, or you can use 2–3 cups of fresh spinach. Make lentil kale soup by adding chopped kale.
- Salt and Pepper — After the soup is done, add salt and pepper to taste.
What are the Best Lentils for Lentil Soup?
There are many different varieties of lentils, from red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, and black lentils. Everyone has opinions about what lentils are best based on their cooking time and texture. I recommend brown lentils because they’re easily available and cook up perfectly without soaking. You can substitute green lentils (also known as French lentils) without adjusting the recipe. If you use red lentils, they cook up much more quickly and can get mushy, so be sure to keep an eye on them as they cook.
I always keep a few 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach in my freezer. That’s because freezing veggies doesn’t impact the nutritional value. In fact, some studies have shown that frozen is better because it’s frozen at the peak of ripeness.
How to Make Lentil Soup
I find most vegan recipes way easier than cooking with meat! Why? Because to make this lentil soup, there’s no pre-cooking any meat! That means no worrying about raw meat on your counters and all the washing involved with that either.
Here’s how to make this easy lentil soup:
- Cook Aromatics — Heat oil in a pot and sauté onion over medium heat until onion is tender. Add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute.
- Vegetables — Add the chopped carrots and potatoes and cook them until tender.
- Broth & Lentils — Add water, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, tamari (or soy sauce), and spices. Stir this all together. Add the dried lentils and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and place the lid ajar on the pot. See more on cooking lentils below. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
- Rice and Spinach — Once the lentils are tender, stir in cooked brown rice, and spinach. Cook until the spinach is heated through and then remove it from heat. Allow the soup to cool for 10–15 minutes.
- Serving — To serve, place individual servings in a bowl and cook in a microwave until heated through. Garnish with chopped green onions, tomatoes, and/or coconut yogurt.
Transfer cooled soup to sealable containers. This will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to Cook Lentils in Soup
Lentils, a legume, are one of the world’s best ingredients for a vegetarian or a vegan diet because they’re cheap and easy to make. They don’t even need pre-soaking before cooking!
To me, the best lentil soup recipes use brown lentils. That’s because it’s easier to find them and they have an intact texture when cooked. In fact, you can find brown lentils in most grocery stores. You can substitute green lentils, black lentils, or red lentils, but be aware the cooking time is different for these.
The trick to cooking lentils is to bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat until the water is at a low simmer. The water should be moving, but not too much. This post on cooking lentils from The Kitchn is really good.
If you simmer too high, you’ll lose the liquid too quickly and some of the lentils might be mushy. However, if you simmer too low, the lentils will still be underdone.
You can include simple vegan lentil recipes in your meal planning because they’re so affordable. Check out my Vegan Lentil Burgers. They are amazing!
Mediterranean Lentil Soup
Are you following a Mediterranean diet? It includes meals inspired by peoples living in Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain. A lot of science supports this mostly plant-based diet for longevity and health.
You could group this in the meatless Mediterranean Lentil Soups category because it fits perfectly in that meal plan. I know the curry changes the profile a bit, but it offers nutrients and flavor. In addition to providing fiber and other nutrients, the lentils offer plant-based protein.
Can Lentil Soup Be Frozen?
You can freeze spiced lentil soup for up to 2 months. Simply allow the soup to cool and then transfer to freezer-safe containers, label, and freeze. To serve frozen soup, remove it from the freezer and place it in the microwave, and cook in defrost mode until the soup is thawed. Continue cooking until heated through.
How Many Calories in Vegan Lentil Soup?
This is another healthy soup recipe. You can expect around 380 calories per serving along with these other nutrients, such as fiber and protein.
I can imagine having a bowl of this curried vegan lentil soup with a slice of Savory Zucchini Bread on the side.
More Vegan Soups
If you love this lentil vegan soup, you’ll want even more vegan soup recipes, like these:
I hope you love this simple lentil soup recipe as much as we do!
Vegan Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 2 cups chopped potatoes (with peel)
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 14.5 ounces canned stewed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cups dried brown lentils
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 10 ounce frozen spinach , thawed
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a pot, add oil and sauté onion over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for about a minute.
- Add chopped carrots and potatoes and cook until vegetables begin to become tender.
- Add water, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, tamari (or soy sauce), curry, and turmeric. Stir together. Then add dried lentils. Bring to a boil and cover and reduce heat to low so that it comes to a gentle simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
- Once lentils are tender, stir in cooked brown rice, and spinach. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach is heated through then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice to brighten flavors.
- Either transfer to serving dishes or for meal prepping, transfer to sealable containers. This will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- To serve, place individual servings in a bowl and cook in a microwave until heated through. Garnish with chopped green onions, tomatoes, and/or coconut yogurt.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.