Don’t settle for bland Lentil Soup! Make it right and you’ll have everyone begging for seconds….and thirds… This lentil recipe is one of the best nourishing, simple dishes you can make with dried lentils that’s 100% delicious. Use green lentils, red lentils, brown lentils or a lentil soup mix.
All it takes is a hint of spice flavourings, bay leaves and finishing it off with a touch of lemon to elevate this soup. It’s an easy recipe that delivers terrific results, a 5 star reader favourite with hundreds of feedback from readers!
Lentil soup is quite possibly the least sexy sounding soup on the planet.
At least, in my world. Regular readers know that I’m all about big flavours. Spicy, herby, curries – kapow, kapow, kapow!
But you know what? A well made Lentil Soup recipe is can’t-stop-eating-it good. You’ll go back for seconds and thirds, then you’ll be taking big tubs of it to work for lunch and happily have it for dinner again.
And – I’m going to say it (*head swell*) – plenty of readers have said this is the best lentil soup they’ve ever had!
A well made Lentil Soup recipe is can’t-stop-eating-it good.
What does lentil soup taste like?
It tastes savoury and has a flavour boost from a hint of spices. There’s an undertone of natural sweetness from the soffrito flavour base of onion, carrot and celery. My favourite part is the texture! It’s thick and comforting, and just made for dunking in hot crusty bread!
What goes in Lentil Soup
Here’s what goes in my lentil soup. Nothing fancy, just everyday ingredients.
So what makes this Lentil Soup so good?
- A touch of spices.
- Cooking the onion, carrot and celery slowly so they sweeten and make a beautiful flavour base.
- Lemon – The “secret” ingredient. Yes really. Little tip I picked up from Ina Garten. Just a bit of zest and squeeze of fresh lemon makes all the difference which takes it from really good to great!
Do you cook lentils before adding to soup?
Nope! Dried lentils cook in 35 minutes in the soup, and there’s no need to soak them either!
What type of lentils are best for lentil soup?
Dried lentils are best for lentil soup. You can use most types of lentils for this recipe – brown, green, red or yellow, though it will affect the colour of the soup. I’ve used green lentils, pictured below.
The only type of lentil I do not recommend is Puy Lentils (little black French lentils) because they hold their shape and don’t soften like other lentils.
Can you used canned cooked lentils?
Yes you sure can, and directions are provided in the recipe notes. But it’s better made with dried lentils because of the texture in the soup, there’s only 10 minutes difference in cook time and it’s more economical!
How to make Lentil Soup from scratch
- Sauté your onion, garlic, carrots and celery over over low heat for almost 10 minutes. Take your time here – the lower the heat, the longer you take, the more these will transform to create an incredible flavour base for the soup!
- Add everything else other than the lemon;
- Simmer 35 minutes until lentils are soft; and
- Finish with a dusting of zest and spritz of lemon.
A hint of lemon earthiness from the zest and touch of freshness from the juice just jazzes up the soup and takes it to that next level!
You’ll find that the lentils mostly breakdown and naturally thicken the soup. But what I like to do to get a really luscious creamy texture is to give the soup a quick whizz with a blender stick (or transfer a couple of cups to the blender) to puree SOME but not all the lentils.
That way you get the benefit of both worlds – creamy soup with soft bits of lentils. YES!
How to store lentil soup
Lentil Soup will easily keep for 5 days in the fridge, making it ideal for cooking on the weekend and serving throughout the week. And it also freezes 100% perfectly for 3 months – even longer!
Every time I make this, I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s healthy, filling, super economical, freezes perfectly, versatile and it’s seriously good.
Serving this with some sort of warm crusty bread for dunking is not optional. It’s an essential part of the Lentil Soup experience.
But it is optional whether you slather said bread with butter, or grill it with cheese! Here are a few options – including making your own ultra easy homemade bread with NO YEAST:
– Nagi xx
Watch how to make it
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (white, brown, yellow)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot , chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 celery ribs , chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 2 cups / 400g dried lentils , green or brown, rinsed (Note 1)
- 400g / 14 oz crushed tomato
- 1.5 litres / 1.5 quarts (6 cups) vegetable or chicken stock / broth, low sodium
- 1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 lemon (zest + juice)
- 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, each
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Warm bread, to serve
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 2 minutes.
- Add celery and carrot. Cook for 7 - 10 minutes or until softened and the onion is sweet. Don't rush this step, it is key to the flavour base of the soup.
- Add all remaining ingredients except the lemon and salt. Stir.
- Increase heat and bring to simmer. Scoop scum on the surface off and discard (do this again during cooking if required). Place lid on and turn heat down to medium low. Simmer for 35 - 40 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Thicken Soup: Using a stick blender, do 2 or 3 quick whizzes to thicken the soup (see video below). Or transfer 2 cups to a blender, let it cool slightly, then hold lid with tea towel and blend then transfer back into pot.
- Add a touch of water if you want to adjust soup consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate over the zest of the lemon then add a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve with warm crusty bread slathered liberally with butter!
Recipe originally published March 2017, spruced up with new pics, new video and fresh new writing. Absolutely no change to recipe – it’s been a firm reader favourite from day 1, so I wouldn’t dare touch it!
More totally delicious lentil recipes:
- Sexy Lentil Salad – try it, then you’ll get the name….
- Dal – Indian lentil curry. The highest and best use of lentils, full stop!
- Coconut Lentil Curry – outrageously addictive, and easy (I make this for a curry fix when I don’t have time for dal)
- Mejadra (Middle Eastern Spiced Lentil Rice) – so good you can eat it plain, seriously!
- Browse all Beans and Lentil recipes
Life of Dozer
He contributes less than nothing to this household, he actually contributes negative. Dropping fur everywhere, shaking vigorously so it flies everywhere along with an inordinate amount of sand, constantly sprawling out in my path so I’m forced to step over him (remember, I’m vertically challenged = giant steps).
Giant 💩 all over the backyard. Barks furiously at tree branches swaying in the breeze but I swear, he would happily show a robber where my jewellery box is in exchange for a pat.
Useless!!! (And yet we love them so much, don’t we? 🙂)
PS Another example of his uselessness – he spends 22 hours a day doing this. The other 2 hours are spent a) eating b) hoping to eat c) playing.