The Best Lentil Soup Recipe

5 from 7 votes
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The BEST Lentil Soup Recipe filled with aromatics, rosemary, and Parmesan. This soul-soothing soup is made in 1 pot, freezer-friendly, and here to nourish.

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A bowl of lentil soup topped with shaved Parmesan styled on a grey surface with a spoon resting on the right side of the bowl.
Read more: The Best Lentil Soup Recipe

Why You’ll Love this Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Easy. Made in under 1 hour in 1 pot, even the most novice cooks will knock this one out of the park.
  • Healthy. Rich in fiber, plant-protein, and antioxidants from the lentils, veggies, and spices.
  • Versatile. This recipe is super flexible! If you don’t have any of the veggies or spices on hand, there are plenty of substitution options.
  • Affordable. The humble lentil is inexpensive and lasts forever in the pantry. This makes lentil soup a great option when you’re trying to stretch your grocery budget.
  • Freezer-friendly. Making it ideal for meal prep!

While lentil soup isn’t fancy, I’d feed this recipe to my dearest dinner guests (and I have many times!). Its satisfying, hearty texture and cozy, rustic flavor will wrap you up with every bite.

When my mom comes to visit, I make sure to prepare a double batch of this soup because it’s always her top request.

And while I’d happily eat lentil soup any time of the year, it’s especially satisfying during the cold winter months, bolstering you with warmth and comfort.

I love serving this lentil soup recipe with crusty bread for sopping up any extra broth. It’s also delicious alongside a hearty kale salad, like this Sweet Potato Kale Salad.

How to Make Lentil Soup

This lentil soup recipe does require a little chopping on the front end, but once you have the ingredients prepped, it’s mostly hands-off.

I especially love that I never need to check or stir the lentils once they start simmering. (For another low maintenance soup recipe, check out my Pumpkin Red Lentil Soup.)

Just break out a Dutch oven or stockpot, put on your favorite cooking playlist, and let lentils shine!

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls arranged on a wooden platter with labels.
  • Lentils: I love using French green lentils (also called “Puy lentils”) in lentil soup. They hold their shape and texture a bit better than classic green lentils, and have a lovely peppery flavor.
    • Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and folate.
  • Onion: Yellow or sweet onion work best here. You need 1 1/2 cups, which amounts to roughly 1 medium onion.
  • Carrot: For a little sweetness, pop of color, and antioxidant boost!
  • Spices: A mix of coriander, fennel seed, and bay leaf create a wonderfully rustic flavor profile. (You can also use cumin seed in place of fennel seed.)
  • Tomato Paste: For a boost of umami and brightness.
  • Rosemary: One of my favorite herb pairings for lentils. If you’re not a rosemary fan, fresh thyme is a suitable swap.
  • Broth: To keep the soup vegetarian or vegan, use vegetable broth. Otherwise, you can certainly make it with chicken broth or bone broth.
  • Greens: I love adding in some chopped kale or spinach towards the end of cooking to even further boost the nutrient ante.
  • Parmesan: For rich, salty, umami flavor, a smattering of Parmesan really elevates this lentil soup recipe.
    • If you’re making the soup vegan, use 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan.
  • Sherry Vinegar: Lentils really benefit from a hit of acidity to wake up the flavors. Stir the vinegar in right before serving to make each bite pop!

The Directions

Step 1: Sauté Aromatics

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium. Cook onion and carrots until soft.

Step 2: Stir in tomato paste and spices; cook until aromatic.

Onion, carrots, tomato paste, garlic, and spices simmering in olive oil in a large white pot.

Step 3: Add Lentils and Rosemary; cook for 1 minute to lightly toast lentils.

Step 4: Add Broth and Water; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmered with the lid ajar until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Lentils, broth, and water being added to the pot.

Step 5: Stir in Kale and Parmesan; cook until the greens wilt.

Step 6: Remove bay leaf and stir in sherry vinegar.

Kale and Parmesan being mixed into soup at the end of cooking.

Substitutions and Additions:

  • Make Vegan: Swap the Parmesan cheese for 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and this lentil soup recipe is easily vegan!
  • Add Meat: You can’t beat lentil soup with sausage. Brown the ground sausage (classic Italian or turkey sausage) with the onion mixture first. Once it’s fully cooked, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed.
  • Make Spicy: This soup really benefits from a kick of heat. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you add the garlic and tomato paste.

Serving Suggestions:

While vegetarian lentil soup in itself is a complete and filling meal, a salad and/or bread would make for a classic combo.

A white Dutch oven filled with the best lentil soup recipe.

Recipe FAQS

Do I Need to Soak Lentils Before Cooking?

Unlike other dried legumes, lentils do not require soaking prior to cooking.

If you do choose to soak lentils, it will slightly lessen their cook time. However, for this soup, I do not suggest presoaking the lentils.

Which Lentils are Best for Lentil Soup?

For a traditional lentil soup, choose firmer lentils that hold their shape during a longer simmer time, such as brown or green lentils.
I especially love using French green lentils (also called “Puy lentils”) in lentil soup, which are slightly firmer.

Is Lentil Soup Healthy?

Lentils are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Consuming lentil soup is a great heart-healthy choice.

How to Store and Reheat:

  • To Store. Place leftover soup in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm this soup in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat until hot. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, to promote even heating.
  • To Freeze. Store soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
A small white soup bowl filled with lentil soup and Parmesan. Styled on a grey surface.

More Lentil Recipes to Try:

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 7 votes

The Best Lentil Soup

The BEST Lentil Soup Recipe filled with aromatics, rosemary, and Parmesan. This soul-soothing soup is made in 1 pot, freezer-friendly, and here to nourish.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Stock pot or Dutch oven

Ingredients  

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 cup green lentils (I love using French green lentils or "Puy lentils" if available)
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped lacinato kale (stems and ribs removed) (sub spinach, mustard greens, or chard)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast if making vegan)
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
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Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and carrots; cook until soft, about 7 to 8 minutes.
    Stir in tomato paste, garlic, fennel seeds, and coriander; cook 2 minutes, until the tomato paste turns brick-red and the garlic is aromatic. Stir in lentils and rosemary; cook 1 minute to allow lentils to lightly toast.
  • Add broth, water, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Partially cover the pot, and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
    Stir in kale and Parmesan cheese; cook until the greens wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf, stir in sherry vinegar, and ladle into bowls to serve. If desired, garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • To Store. Place leftover soup in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm this soup in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat until hot. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, to promote even heating.
  • To Freeze. Store soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Sodium: 815mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 6g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Maria says:

    5 stars
    This soup is absolutely perfect!!

  2. Sara says:

    This soup is great! Cheap ingredients for folks on a tight budget like myself, fast to prepare, freezes well. This has become a go to meal for me to make on a Sunday and unfreeze during the week for lunches. Highly recommend

  3. Lee Martin says:

    5 stars
    Making this soup for the second time… in 10 days. The flavors are amazing! I’m using black lentils vs. green, and have adapted the recipe to the Instant-pot. (High pressure, 9min). So, so, so good! Thank you!

  4. Denise McCarthy says:

    5 stars
    This was hearty and delicious! Perfect.

  5. Joni Southwell says:

    Just made this. Delicious. The closest I’ve found to Carrabba’s! This is going to be a staple going forward.

  6. Victoria Bonner says:

    Super delicious.