This easy lentil soup recipe is a delicious and comforting meal! It's mildly spiced, but perfectly hearty and filling. Consider serving this meatless dish with some warm, buttery bread or a cheese crisp and side salad.
I can't remember the first time I tried lentils, but I DO know that it was love at first bite!
Red, green, brown, French, I love every one.
They each have a unique taste and texture, and I have a favorite recipe for each type (I'm looking at you, Red Lentil Pizza).
I love making a big pot of this soup for dinner and having the leftovers for lunch the next few days.
My picky kids and meat-loving hubby all adore this soup, and I hope you will too!
Which lentils are best for soup?
I've tried three different types of lentils in this soup: brown, green, and French (or Puy) lentils.
My favorite to use are the French lentils, but they can be hard to find. They are the heartiest of the bunch and maintain their shape well with heat. They also give soup a nice, 'meaty' bite.
Green and brown lentils are the most common and easily available at grocery stores. They hold their shape fairly well, but they are softer than the French variety.
Red lentils become much softer when cooked and would not be a good choice for this particular soup. Try my Lemon Red Lentil Soup instead!
Here is a more in-depth read on lentils, if you're interested!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Olive oil - Butter also works
- Vegetables - Onion, carrot, celery, garlic
- Lentils - French, green, or brown all work!
- Spices - Cumin, thyme (dried or fresh), bay leaf, salt, black pepper
- Tomato paste
- Fresh parsley
- Apple cider vinegar - Red wine vinegar also works
- Parmesan - Optional
Not pictured: water.
Begin by heating the oil in a large pot. Add the veggies and saute them for about five minutes, or until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the lentils and spices, along with the bay leaf, water, and tomato paste.
Give everything a good stir, then raise the heat to high. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a gentle simmer.
Cook 30-50 minutes, or until your choice of lentil is soft.
No need for pre-soaking in this recipe.
This recipe was originally made with French lentils in mind, but I have also used brown and green with great results. Keep in mind your cook time will be slightly less when using brown or green lentils.
Yes! Cool the soup completely, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Don't overfill the bags, as the soup will expand as it freezes. It should last up to six months.
When we make this soup, we usually go meatless, serving one or more of the following delicious sides:
- Pumpkin Biscuits or Buckwheat Biscuits or another warm, whole grain bread
- A gooey cheese crisp made with my Spelt Flour Tortillas
- Side salads with our Favorite Italian Dressing
Easy Lentil Soup (NO Broth!)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¾ cup lentils French, green, or brown all work
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1/2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 6 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- freshly grated parmesan optional, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, just to bring out the flavor.
- Stir in the lentils and spices, along with the bay leaf, water, and tomato paste.
- Give everything a good stir and bring it all to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and let the soup cook for about 30-50 minutes (uncovered), until lentils are tender, but not mushy.
- Stir in the parsley and vinegar.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan, if desired.
If you have a chance to try this recipe, please leave a star rating and a comment below letting me know how you liked it!
Shared with: Full Plate Thursday