This One-Pot Lentil Soup Recipe is the perfect fall soup. Made with root vegetables, brown lentils, and fresh herbs, it’s an easy, 30-minute, weeknight meal.
For the past 3 years, I have wrapped up the MDV year with a soup recipe.
Last year, I shared my Cream of Cauliflower Soup and the year before that it was vegan this Broccoli Cheese Soup. Ending the year with a vegan soup recipe has become a tradition here because growing up it was a Christmas tradition of ours. Every year was the same (which is what is so incredible about tradition). We would come home from a Christmas Eve service to a lit tree and the festively decorated house smelling of spiced cider and warm soup.
Once the bowls were scraped clean, my mom would bring out the last of the Christmas cookies and we would gather around the tree to open presents. For us, Christmas eve was when the magic happened.
And so, to continue to tradition, I have a new soup for you. This One-Pot Classic Lentil Soup recipe is warm, comforting, delicious, hearty, AND super easy to make which gives YOU more time to spend with your family this holiday season.
Let’s take a closer at how to make this lentil soup recipe!
Best Lentils for Lentil Soup
Lentils can come in a variety of colors and textures. Some of the most common lentils are red, brown, and green.
Red lentils are common in Mediterranean and Indian cooking. They are mostly used in Red Lentil Curries or Red Lentil Soups. Unlike brown and green, red lentils have a slight sweetness and are vastly different in texture. As they cook, they become mushy, losing their shape and making them perfect for certain types of soups and curries.
I love red lentils, but they are not interchangeable in this lentil soup recipe.
Within brown and green lentils, there is also quite a variety. Traditionally French lentil soup is made with French du Puy lentils which are a variety of green lentil. They differ from typical green lentils in that they are smaller, darker, and hold their shape extremely well, making them the perfect lentil for salads and light soups.
While I recommend French lentils, you could also use traditional green lentils or brown lentils for this recipe. Just note that each variety of lentils has different cooking times. French and brown lentils take about 20-25 minutes to cook while green lentils need about 45 minutes.
How to make lentil soup
This soup comes together super easily! It can be made in just one pot and with only about 10 minutes of prep work.
Step One: Get your best soup pot
When it comes to soup pots, I love my Dutch Oven from Le Creuset for soups. Made from cast iron, they are perfect for slow cooking and simmering soups and stews. My Dutch Oven is one of the most useful and versatile kitchen tools I have and although it’s a bit pricey, you will use this one over and over again (for soups, stews, sides, bread, and even desserts!) and it will last you a lifetime.
While any soup pot will do, when I have loved and trusted kitchen items, I like to share them with you. As a minimalist, I prefer few, high-quality, multi-functional products, and I know many of you share that value.
Besides, the holidays are upon us and I know some of you are thinking about gifts for your loved ones already.
Step two: Sauté vegetables
As you would imagine, the onions and garlic are sautéed first until they are nice and translucent.
Once the sweet fragrance of onion fills our kitchen, we can add the carrots and celery. Sauté the vegetable for another 5-7 minutes to get them tender and slightly caramelized on the outside. This releases all that good sweet vegetable flavor.
Step Three: Add the Remaining Ingredients
Once vegetables are tender, add all the spices EXCEPT salt and pepper. Stir to coat the vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20-25 minutes (or more if you’re using green lentils) until the lentils are plump and tender and most of the broth has evaporated.
Stir in the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste.
That’s it! This recipe is done.
Tips and Tricks
Lentil soup is very straight-forward. It’s nearly fail-proof. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this lentil soup recipe.
- Make sure to use French, green, or brown lentils (in other words, don’t use red lentils!) and adjust the cooking time depending on which you are using. Green lentils take about 45 minutes to cook whereas brown and French lentils take between 20-25 minutes.
- Sauté the carrots and celery for at least 5-7 minutes. This tenderizes them and releases their sweet bold flavors into the soup.
- If you don’t have tomato paste, you can sub it with one (14.oz) can of crushed tomatoes. If you do use crushed tomatoes, reduce the vegetable broth by one cup.
- You can swap spinach for kale if you prefer. If you do add kale, give it a couple of minutes longer to wilt. Or you can also omit spinach altogether.
Serving and Storing
Serve this soup immediately with fresh bread or crackers and a big green salad. Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
That’s it! I think you’re ready to make this lentil soup recipe. Take a look at the recipe card below!
This One-Pot Lentil Soup Recipe is the perfect fall soup. Made with root vegetables, brown lentils, and fresh herbs, it's an easy, 30-minute, weeknight meal.
Keyword: Lentil Soup Recipe
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 sprigs of oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- pinch of cayenne
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound brown lentils
- 1 large handful fresh spinach
- 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
Place a large soup pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil. One oil is hot, add onions and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until onions are fragrant. Add carrots and celery and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes.
Once vegetables are tender, add oregano, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the spinach, salt and pepper.
Cover, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once soup is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until lentils are cooked and most of the broth has evaporated.
Stir in the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
A few substitutions to keep in mind: If you are using green lentils, they will take about 45 minutes to cook whereas brown and French lentils take between 20-25 minutes. If you don’t have tomato paste, you can sub it with one (14.oz) can of crushed tomatoes. If you do use crushed tomatoes, reduce the vegetable broth by one cup.
Soup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently reheat over low heat in a soup pot until soup is desired temperature.