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Lentil Soup Recipe

This one-pot healthy lentil soup recipe is so delicious, it’s sure to become a staple in your home!

Lentil Soup Recipe

Voted The #1 Best Lentil Soup

This classic recipe is ultra thick, hearty, and made with just nine ingredients!

While you can find thousands of recipes for how to make lentil soup from scratch, this is the hands-down winner of anything I’ve ever tried, and it’s thanks to a secret cooking trick that makes all the difference.

If you want a lentil soup that will quickly become a family favorite, I highly recommend giving it a try. The original recipe was my grandmother’s, and it actually won first prize when she entered it at a country fair!

The soup has been on regular rotation in my family for years, and I’ve adapted the original version to make it my own.

If you’re browsing online trying to decide which lentil soup recipe to make, this one will not let you down.

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Soup Ingredients

Nine Wholesome Ingredients

The recipe is so delicious and easy to make, you will never go back to canned soup again.

One of my favorite parts about this soup is that it freezes well, so you can portion it out and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day – I use these BPA-Free Glass Meal Prep Containers.

It’s full of nutrition, protein, fiber, and so much flavor, and it is pure healthy comfort food in a bowl!

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Watch the video how to make lentil soup, above.

The Easy Lentil Soup Recipe

Trick #1: Pulverize the base ingredients <— This trick makes all the difference!

So many lentil soup recipes skip this step, which is a huge mistake! Blending the base ingredients not only lets you thicken the soup without adding flour or cornstarch, it also adds so much depth of flavor. The trick is to pulverize before adding the lentils so you get all the benefits of the extra flavor without having to sacrifice texture.

Trick #2: Keep it simple.

While ingredients such as kale, sweet potato, cumin, paprika, garlic, spinach, or lemon zest all might make nice additions, this classic lentil soup is so good on its own that there’s honestly no need for extra add-ins or spices. By keeping it simple, you allow the main ingredients to really shine.

Trick #3: Cook until carrots are soft.

You’ll often see carrots as an ingredient in soup recipes, and for good reason. As long as you add them at the right time, their natural sweetness will transfer to the broth while cooking and balance the flavor of the soup.

This particular recipe calls for the carrots to be added in the middle of the cooking process, ensuring they’re perfectly soft without being overcooked.

While you can definitely serve the soup the day it’s made, the taste is even better if you wait 24 hours, because doing so gives the individual flavors a chance to come together and intensify. There’s actually a long scientific explanation for why leftovers always seem to taste better the next day; it’s not just in your head!

Serving Suggestions: Banana Muffins or Keto Muffins

Easy Homemade Lentil Soup
Easy Lentil Soup Recipe

The soup is especially good with homemade English muffins from the Hello Breakfast ebook.

Can I Double The Recipe?

The recipe as written yields about five cups, and it can easily be doubled to feed a larger family or if you want enough leftovers to freeze. The soup is also great for meal prep.

Do You Have To Soak The Lentils First?

Nope! Unlike other dried legumes or beans, lentils can safely be cooked without soaking. (Split peas and mung beans also do not require soaking.)

If you have time, soaking dried lentils overnight increases digestibility and reduces cooking time, but it’s also perfectly fine to either skip the soaking or make this lentil soup using canned lentils.

Should I Use Green Or Brown Lentils?

It’s your choice, as both work well.

I haven’t tried red lentils here, but many readers have commented that they’ve successfully made this soup with red lentils.

Can I Make It In A Slow Cooker?

You can! Follow the same instructions as if cooking it on the stovetop, skipping the simmering step and instead cooking in a crock pot on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, or until carrots and barley are tender.

What About Instant Pot Lentil Soup?

Sauté the onion in oil if desired, using the sauté function, then pulverize with the celery, tomatoes, and broth. Add all remaining ingredients, lock, and set to high pressure for 2 minutes. Once done, cancel and carefully do a quick release.

The recipe can be vegetarian and vegan, low calorie, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, low fat, oil free, and it’s so rich and thick that it’s almost more like lentil stew than soup.

Hopefully you will love it as much as we do!

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The Best Lentil Soup Recipe With Three Secret Tricks (Vegan, Oil Free)
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Lentil Soup Recipe

This healthy lentil soup recipe is so delicious, it's sure to become a staple in your home!
4.99/5 (139)
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil (can be omitted for fat free)
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 14 oz chopped tomatoes
  • 14 oz vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned lentils
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley or rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • optional pepper to taste

Instructions

  • To make the soup: either sauté onion in oil or just combine it with the celery, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pulverize. Then add all remaining ingredients, lower to a simmer, and cover. Simmer 25 minutes or until carrots and barley are tender. Taste, and add additional seasonings if desired.  If you try the recipe, don’t forget to leave a comment or rate it below!
    *Notes: I usually add the oil for its rich flavor, but especially if you’re used to low-fat soups, this one is still good without it. The 1/4 cup barley adds thickness to the soup by soaking up some of the liquid during cooking. If using dried lentils, cook them before starting the soup. (If using canned lentils, drain and rinse first.) Canned diced tomatoes are fine; you just might want to cut back on the salt in the recipe if using tomatoes with salt.
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

Also be sure to try this Cauliflower Soup Recipe.
 
 

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4.99/5 (139)

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Published on January 10, 2019

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Reader Interactions

91 Comments

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  1. Cindy says

    Hello Katie, this soup sounds wonderful! You referenced homemade English muffins from your Hello Breakfast cookbook in your post. I bought that cookbook but can’t seem to find the recipe for them. Help, I would like to make them with the soup!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi! It’s in the bonus pack, and you definitely are entitled to that 🙂
      It might have gotten caught in a spam filter, so I’m sending it manually to you ASAP. Let me know if you don’t see it within the next few minutes.
      Jason (media relations)

  2. Lyla says

    This sounds great and I think I have all of the ingredients already- I love when that happens! 🙂 When you ‘pulverize’ do you use an immersion blender or some sort of masher? Thanks!

  3. Sandra says

    So funny, my grandmother also entered a soup recipe into a fair and won a prize. Who brings soup to a fair?! It seems to random but I guess it was a thing back then? It’s also still a soup we make today. Lol but her recipe wasn’t vegetarian at all!

  4. Karolin says

    Just made this for dinner and it turned out great! I used red tllentils and fine barley. I added dried lentils and allowed them to cook with the recipe (added more liquid to make up for it). Keeper 🙂

  5. Kate says

    I made this lentil soup with red lentils and brown rice last night for dinner. I agree with the comment above mine. It’s a keeper!

  6. Sue says

    Just made this for dinner tonight and it’s simple and a keeper. I thought only 1/2 tsp of seasoning would be too small an amount but it was perfect – adds just enough flavour without overwhelming. I used yellow lentils and brown rice. I paired it with homemade cornbread, yummy. Definitely going in our rotation, hearty enough to meet my husband’s approval ?

  7. Michelle says

    I made this soup today, double recipe and it’s amazing!!! I doubled the recipe and added more carrots and a little more barley than called for but absolutely amazing!! I didn’t add rosemary and honestly it’s one of the better soups I’ve made in awhile.
    How many calories would you predict are in this per serving? I did use olive oil, but I used low sodium veggie broth to cut down on salt! Thanks for sharing

    • Jason Sanford says

      Link to the nutrition facts is right under the instructions – it includes calories, fat, protein, etc. 🙂
      -Jason

  8. Anisah says

    Just made this adding some black pepper and lemon juice to taste. Yummy! I couldn’t find my barley (either that or I ate it all and forgot) so I gave quinoa and really liked the texture it gave. So simple too! Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Kelly says

    I made the lentil soup and it was the best I’ve ever had! I definitely see why it won an award. Thank you for posting this!!

  10. Rachel says

    I’m making this right now for the 2nd time in 3 days. It is so simple and SO delicious! Blending the base is a game-changer. It has a wonderfully comforting, nostalgic flavor like tomato soup or-dare I say-Spaghetti O’s. But like a grown-up, refined version of Spaghetti-O’s.

  11. Amber says

    Hi! I really love the Breakfast cookbook but I also saw the English muffin recipe mentioned here and it was one of the reasons I bought the book but I can’t find the recipe. Any help to find that would be much appreciated!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi, so sorry for the trouble! You definitely ought to have it! I’m sending it over immediately so if you don’t see it within the next few minutes in your inbox, absolutely let us know.
      Jason (media relations)

  12. Brett says

    This lentil soup is so simple and so delicious! I made it tonight, exactly as written, no substitutions, for my hubby, 4 yr old and 1 yr old and everyone loved it. I served with homemade biscuits. I will definitely add this to my regular meal rotation. Thanks!

  13. Faye says

    This soup was DELICIOUS! I made it exactly as the recipe stated and it came out great. So easy and good for you, too. My family loved it, too. I love making all kinds of soups and this will be added to my list of favorites.

  14. Peggy says

    Made this tonight. So good! I added green beans and diced mushrooms – my favs! Will be a regular recipe at my house.Thank you.

  15. Susie P. says

    Made it tonight, it was delicious. First time making soup without meat. We are slowly
    changing to Plant Based Lifestyle. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Maryanne says

    I’ve been looking for a simple lentil soup recipe all winter. When I saw this in one of my emails, I knew it was the one to try. It was exactly what I’d been looking for! I just made it today, and it did not disappoint! It was sooooo good! However, transferring boiling liquid and veggies to my blender was quite a pain, and every time I turned on the blender, despite holding down the top, it kind of exploded out the top making a big mess with very hot liquid! So you think I could liquify before boiling? Thanks!

  17. Ali says

    This was absolutely delicious! Blending the base makes a HUGE difference – followed your suggestions exactly (no added seasonings/ ingredients) and it was just perfect. Can’t wait to have my leftovers 🙂

  18. Abbie says

    This reminds me of a recipe that my grandmother would make. I’m excited to try the healthier version. It looks delicious.

  19. Lisa says

    You’re right – this is THE best lentil soup recipe! I’ve made lentil soup before and it’s been a chore to eat. This was literally so good I can’t keep it around my house because it gets eaten so fast. The barley is so perfect for texture and pulverizing the first few ingredients is a game changer. Love it!!!!

  20. Sandi VanKnowe says

    I used dried red lentils, which look light yellow after cooking. And I doubled toe recipe. There were 6 at dinner and everyone seemed to like the lentil soup!

  21. Jessica says

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. If only I recieved the English Muffin recipe when I purchases the cookbook ? It’s the main reapn I bought it.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Oh you definitely should have it! The bonus pack might have gotten caught in a filter. I’m sending it manually right away to ensure you get it, and let me know if you don’t see it within the next few minutes. Sorry for the delay!
      Jason (media relations)

  22. Kaylyn says

    The recipe came out really well both times I’ve made it. The first time I pre-cooked the red lentils and the seond time I just tossed in 1/2 cup of dried red lentils at the same time I added in the barley and they came out much firmer. So with red lentils that are precooked it’s a smoother soup and for anyone who likes chunkier soup it may be better to out them in dry at same time as barley

  23. nikki says

    This soup is absolutely delicious. I am a former carnivore trying to rid my diet of meat. This soup is better than any meat I ever cooked. Loved it. Thanks!

  24. Nanette Day says

    Absolutely love this lentil soup every time I serve it it gets raves and it’s so easy and quick thank you so much

  25. Dawn says

    It is so good, it is ridiculous. I added a bit more barley beacaue I love it so much and a tad less lentils. It is like a souped up tomatoe soup, no pun intended

  26. Aicha says

    This soup tastes so incredible! My first ever soup and I am so proud of it! Thank you for the recipe!

  27. Kimberly says

    The best lentil soup I have ever made! I added some nutritional yeast and I used the pre steamed french lentils from Trader Joes. So simple.
    . Thank u!this will be one of my staple meals.

    • Jason Sanford says

      You never know unless you try, but it sounds like a fun experiment. Be sure to report back if you try!
      Jason

  28. Filomena says

    Hi! This recipe is awesone! I’ve been looking for a delicious lentil recipe for months. This is a definite comfort food. I used Rotel diced tomatoes and all the other ingredients listed. My kids are picky eaters and they love this soup too! I see other recipes on your blog and can’t wait to try them. Thank you sweetie!

  29. Liz says

    I used my instant pot to make the soup. It was super easy. I added some chopped mushrooms but followed the recipe . The barley wasn’t completely cooked after 2 min. So I put it back on for another 2 min. And let it sit for a few minutes after pressure reached and it came out perfect. Thanks for this easy delicious soup recipe.

  30. Sherry says

    I made this soup two days ago and we ate some this evening. I’ve made other lentil soups and this is definitely the best and the easiest. I used brown lentils (dry) that I had in my pantry and cooked earlier, doubled the recipe, and transferred the base ingredients into my Vitamix (in two batches) for processing, and then back into another pot to finsh. It was wonderful! Thank you. I’m going to check out some of your other recipes.

    I was wondering about the pre-cooking the dry lentils. Has anyone tried just adding the dried lentils to the soup and cooking it for longer? Do you have any suggestions about that?

  31. Diana M says

    Delicious soup, best ever!
    I added:
    1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    1 teaspoon each ground turmeric,smocked paprika, and ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon of tandori paste.
    Little pasta and loved it!

    Thanks Diana

  32. Camile says

    Just finished making and sharing. I never would have guessed my little very picky eater son would be eating lentils – but he had 2 bowls! Everyone loved this soup!
    I doubled the recipe and glad I did.
    I used a large can of chopped tomatoes and brown rice, which added additional cooking time to get the rice tender. The flavor of this soup is really great! I`ll be printing it off and making it again through the winter I’m sure.
    Thanks! 🙂

  33. marianne says

    I’ve been making lentil soup for years. This recipe is the one I will use from now on. It was delicious! Tasty, thick, and satisfying.

  34. Jenny Allen says

    You never disappoint, Katie! This recipe is amazing. Made it as my vegan contribution to the Thanksgiving table – YUM!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi Mary! Are your lentils in a package? If so, it should give cooking instructions on the package itself. Let me know if that helps!
      Jason

  35. Beth says

    This looks plain, but is surprisingly awesome. All I had was chili seasoned diced tomatoes so it was a little spicy. But first time trying the pearl Barley, really good. Thanks for this!

  36. Nechama says

    What do you mean by 14oz vegetable broth?
    Did you make your own? Or do you use store bought powder? If so, how many bscoops of powder would that be?

  37. Mirandamom says

    I followed the recipe exactly except I cooked the lentils with bay leaves and will thin it out a bit and add some spinach before serving. This makes an outstanding lentil soup!

  38. Larry says

    It’s impossible for me to overstate my love of this recipe. I make it once a week in the instant pot. I add mushroom, and after it’s cooked, pre-cooked farro. Just getting into the vegetarian lifestyle, and this recipe has been a lifeline.
    Once again, thank you Katie.

  39. Lou says

    I make this for my wife and me tonight. It was fantastic! She told me I should have doubled the recipe. She also said we should make a large stockpot of it and can it. When I made it I used the caned diced tomatoes with basil garlic and oregano. Other than that it as according to the recipe. I cooked the lentils myself.

  40. Jen says

    I have made this several times now and it is SO good! Easy to make and the most comforting bowl of lentil soup. Leftovers hold up really well too.

  41. Meghan says

    Hi Katie! Thank you for all of your amazing recipes. With an overwhelming amount of food bloggers out there these days, I always know I can trust your recipes. Question for you: I just sprouted a bunch of lentils. Have you ever made soup with sprouted lentils, and if so, do you do anything differently?

    • Jason Sanford says

      We honestly haven’t tried it, but be sure to report back if you experiment!
      Jason (media relations)

  42. Emily S says

    I made this in the instant pot and cooked for 4 mins on high pressure and the lentils were still very undercooked…did the recipe mean to say cook for 12 mins instead of 2? Thanks!

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