Lentil Soup

Meet the BEST lentil soup recipe! Made with dried lentils, fresh vegetables, flavorful spices, and hearty greens, it's simple, nourishing, and delicious.

Lentil soup

This lentil soup recipe might surprise you. Sure, it’s simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring.

This lentil soup is packed with hearty greens, tender vegetables, and fiber- and protein-rich lentils. Fresh herbs and spices fill it with complex flavor, and a splash of vinegar adds a delicious tangy kick.

It’s not just my best lentil soup recipe—it’s one of my best recipes, period. It’s been a staple in my rotation for years. I love that it’s easy to make with mostly pantry ingredients and that it’s nourishing, warming, and satisfying. If you ask me, it’s the perfect healthy dinner for a winter weeknight (save any leftovers for lunch the next day!). I hope you love this classic lentil soup as much as I do.

Lentil soup recipe ingredients

Lentil Soup Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this lentil soup recipe:

  • Lentils, of course! I recommend using green or French green lentils because they hold their shape in the soup, adding satisfying texture. Brown lentils are also a fine option. Don’t use red lentils here—they’re too mushy for this recipe.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • Onion, garlic, carrot, and celery – They create the soup’s aromatic base.
  • Fresh kale – You’ll use the whole leaves, stems and all!
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – I love the smoky flavor that fire-roasted tomatoes add to this soup. In a pinch, regular diced tomatoes will work here too!
  • Vegetable broth – Make homemade vegetable broth, or use store-bought.
  • Fresh thyme – For citrusy, woodsy flavor. I like to bundle whole sprigs together with kitchen twine. Then, I add the bundle to the soup like a bay leaf, removing it before serving. Bundling the sprigs like this is SO much quicker than picking and measuring the leaves.
  • Cumin – The secret ingredient! It adds savory, earthy depth of flavor.
  • White wine vinegar – It gives the soup a bright, tangy kick.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Variations

Don’t have these exact ingredients on hand? These swaps work nicely:

  • Replace the kale with another leafy green like fresh spinach or Swiss chard.
  • Use 1 teaspoon dried thyme instead of the fresh sprigs.
  • Replace the celery with 1 small fennel bulb, diced.
  • No vinegar? No problem. Finish the soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

Sautéing onion, carrot, and celery in Dutch oven

How to Make Lentil Soup

This lentil soup recipe is easy to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, sauté the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, kale stems, and cumin. Season with salt and several grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften, about 8 minutes.

Adding diced tomatoes to pot

Next, simmer the soup. Add the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, and broth.

Adding lentils to soup pot with vegetables

Cover the soup and cook until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes or so. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer.

How to make lentil soup - pouring broth into pot

Finally, add the greens. Cook until they wilt, about 5 minutes, and then season to taste.

Serve the lentil soup in bowls topped with garnishes like fresh parsley, grated Parmesan, and/or red pepper flakes. Enjoy with crusty bread!

Love cooking soup in the Instant Pot? I have an Instant Pot version of this recipe! Check out my Instant Pot Lentil Soup.

Stirring kale leaves into pot of lentil soup

How to Store Lentil Soup

Got leftover soup? You’re in luck! It will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

I actually like this soup better leftover. The flavor only improves as it sits in the fridge!

Can you freeze lentil soup?

Yes, this vegan lentil soup is freezer-friendly! Allow it to cool to room temperature, and then seal it in airtight containers or jars, leaving an inch for the soup to expand at the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Best lentil soup recipe

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this lentil soup, try one of these nourishing soup recipes next:

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Best Lentil Soup

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 586 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves 4 to 6
This easy lentil soup recipe is healthy and delicious, filled with fresh veggies, herbs, and spices. Serve it with crusty bread for a simple weeknight meal! Skip the cheese to make this recipe vegan.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, kale stems, cumin, salt, and several grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, vinegar, thyme, and broth. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Add the kale leaves and cook for 5 minutes, or until wilted.
  • Remove the thyme bundle and season to taste. Serve topped with the parsley, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan, if desired.

Notes

Store leftover soup in the fridge for up to 4 days. If it thickens too much in the fridge, stir in a little water while you reheat it to reach your desired soup consistency. This soup also freezes well.

 

817 comments

4.97 from 586 votes (170 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Bridget Cassun
    01.31.2024

    5 stars
    Delicious! Easy to make and tasted even better the next day! Lots of veggies, perfect for these cold winter days!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Bridget, I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Samantha Thompson
    01.31.2024

    5 stars
    This was fantastic! I wasn’t so sure day one, but you were so right, it IS way better the next day! Next time, I am going to make it ahead and eat it another day! Loved all the veggies and it was very easy!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Samantha, I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup!

  3. Kathy Price
    01.31.2024

    I love your website, and so I decided to try the January challenge. The lentil soup recipe is GREAT. I just finished making it – hopefully in time for the challenge 🙂 I’ll send a photo next.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Kathy, Thanks for joining in the January challenge! I’m so glad you loved the soup.

  4. Hilary Kenny
    01.31.2024

    5 stars
    Very tasty, quick and easy, and wholesome! So glad I tried this soup. Seasonings were perfect too.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Hilary, I’m so glad you loved it!

  5. Cristine
    01.30.2024

    5 stars
    Lovely lentil soup and love all the ingredients. Made it twice in this month –added mushrooms to the second batch….YUM!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Cristine, I’m so glad you’ve been loving the soup! It would be delicious with mushrooms.

  6. Meagan Ponseigo
    01.30.2024

    5 stars
    Made this lentil soup tonight. It was so good! Definitely going to make again 🙂

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Meagan, I’m so glad you loved it!

  7. Amy Martin
    01.30.2024

    4 stars
    This soup came together easily, has great flavor, and as a bonus, even my picky child ate it up!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Amy, I’m so glad it was a hit!

  8. Ariel Bedaro
    01.30.2024

    5 stars
    Ariel Bedaro – January Entry

  9. Markie Pringle
    01.30.2024

    5 stars
    Markie

    Warm and comforting soup on a cold January day. Thank you. Delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  10. Rebekah
    01.30.2024

    5 stars
    A delicious recipe! As usual, your flavors were right on point. My young daughters and husband all enjoyed it, which is saying something 🙂 Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      I’m glad you all enjoyed it!

  11. Frances Bohn
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    This soup is so easy to make and SO delicious!! I doubled the recipe to freeze a batch for later!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Taryn Pahl
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    This was the most nourishing and delicious winter soup! I think I’m a lentil fan now..

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  13. Carissa
    01.29.2024

    Definitely adding this soup to the weekly rotation! It’s a great winter warmer 🙂

  14. Vicki Morgan
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    This really IS the best lintel soup! I made it last week and again this week. My family loves it and it’s full of healthy veges. Love it!

  15. Adrienne Lamp
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Love this soup! It is hearty and warming and so versatile. I added some diced potatoes and served it with salad and crusty bread. Delicious!

  16. Wendy
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Thank you for this incredible soup recipe. We made this on a frigid Sunday afternoon and I used both Kale and Spinach. We will be enjoying this week for lunch. We also highly recommend her Cabbage Soup as that is equally as delightful. Both soups will be on our rotation.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.30.2024

      Hi Wendy, I’m so happy you loved this and the cabbage soup!

  17. Wendy
    01.29.2024

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe, we made this on a frigid Sunday afternoon. The flavor is just incredible. I used 90% kale and then finished off with spinach to make my 8 cups. This will make wonderful lunches for the two of us. Highly recommend this recipe as well as her Cabbage Soup is wonderful as well.

  18. Nicole Smith
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Easy and delicious! I made sourdough croutons to go with it!

  19. JoAnn Peck
    01.29.2024

    Yummy recipe! It’s a walk down memory lane as my mom used to make lentil soup. Her recipe was a bit different but equally delicious!

  20. Rachel Barker
    01.29.2024

    5 stars
    Wonderfully flavorful and pleasing to the eye. This is a very satisfying soup that I will be adding to my go to menu..

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.