Easy Lentil Soup – A Couple Cooks


This easy lentil soup is only 7 ingredients and simple to meal prep as a lunch or dinner recipe! It’s one of our top cheap and delicious healthy meal prep ideas.

Lentil soup

Every year I go through a “lentil soup phase” where I eat the same soup on repeat because it’s easy, satisfying, and extremely economical. Some years it’s been this curry lentil soup, or others this red lentil soup or the smoky lentil soup from this cookbook I authored. But I’ve just discovered the lentil soup that outshines them all: it’s only 7 ingredients, plant-based, perfect for meal prep, and extraordinarily delicious. We sent it to a recipe tester who said, “How is this SO delicious AND so easy to make?” If you’re looking for easy, healthy budget-friendly meals: this is a game changer.

Jump to the recipe—now.

You only need 7 ingredients for this lentil soup

We’ve developed several lentil soup recipes over the years: this one with a tomato-based broth, one with curry, one with red lentils, and an Italian lentil soup. But this new recipe is our favorite yet. I created it for a friend with dietary restrictions, and after recipe testing I learned this simple rule: a great lentil soup recipe works even without broth.

What, no vegetable broth, you say?

Purchased vegetable broth can be expensive, especially if you have to buy two quarts of it for a single recipe. This lentil soup is just as satisfying as soups with broth using only water and salt! We rarely run across this with a vegetarian or vegan soup, since broth helps to infuse that savory flavor that’s missing without meat. There are 7 ingredients you’ll need this easy lentil soup recipe (excluding that salt and water):

Ingredients for lentil soup
  • Dried green or brown lentils: Avoid other types of lentils for this soup recipe. Green and brown work the best (packages labeled “lentils” are usually one of the two). Red lentils cook faster and could become mushy, and French or black lentils don’t have the right texture for this recipe.
  • Carrot, celery, and onion: This common trio of aromatic soup vegetables gives the earthy flavor to this soup.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is always key to a savory flavor of a soup, especially if it’s vegetarian or vegan (it can mimic some of the umami of meat).
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is essential for sautéing and browning the vegetables, though you could swap in butter or ghee if desired.
  • Cumin: Cumin adds savory, earthy notes that make for a straightforward yet intriguing flavor. (It also tastes great with double the quantity of curry powder!)

According to the New York Times, Mediterranean diet guidelines suggest eating legumes 2 to 3 times per week, and this soup recipe is a simple and delicious way to do it.

Add an optional garnish or two!

There are a few optional garnish ingredients, but they’re not essential for the flavoring. Finely chopped fresh parsley adds a nice green color, and if you’d like you can add freshly ground black pepper. Our favorite is to garnish with grated Pecorino cheese to add a pop of salt. To keep it vegan, you can substitute vegan Parmesan cheese.

Other garnishes that are always delicious: a dollop of Greek yogurt (or cashew cream, for vegan). Some soups need it for flavor, but this one can stand alone.

Tips for making this lentil soup recipe

This lentil soup recipe is a simple matter of chopping vegetables, sauteing them, then adding lentils and simmering for 30 minutes. There’s no need for special equipment: just a pot and a few vegetables. You’ll be surprised at the hearty, delicious flavor: and it’s so satisfying and filling! Here are a few tips for the process:

  • Start with 9 cups of water for simmering. We like a soup that is very lentil-heavy, with just a bit of broth so this amount of liquid generally works well for us.
  • If you want it more “brothy” add up to 1 cup more water with a few pinches salt. Remember, you’re making essentially a broth with water and salt, so you may need to add a few more pinches of salt with any additional water.
Lentil Soup Recipe

It’s the only lentil soup recipe you’ll need—and you can mix it up!

This lentil soup recipe is so simple that once you try it, you’ll probably put it right into your regular rotation! It’s the ideal vegetarian dinner and plant based or vegan dinner idea. It’s a great template recipe that you can use and then mix and match spices according to what you have on hand and what you’re craving. Here are a few variations we’ve done:

  • Curry powder: Substitute the cumin with 2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder.
  • Coconut milk: Want a creamy spin? Stir in ½ can full fat coconut milk, or more to taste.
  • Potatoes: Add 1 small diced, peeled potato and add it to the vegetables after sautéing 5 minutes. Sauté for 3 more minutes before continuing the remaining steps.

Meal prep and make ahead notes

This lentil soup recipe is ideal for meal prep because it tastes even better over time! We make up a big batch for the week and it stores well. It’s a great healthy dinner idea that’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free! Here are a few make ahead tips:

  • Make and store this lentil soup for up to 1 week refrigerated. The flavor just keeps getting better!
  • The lentils soak up water during storage, so you can add slightly more liquid. If you’re making this for meal prep, the lentils will soak up some liquid over time: you can simply add a splash of water and a pinch of salt to your bowl before serving.
  • You can also freeze lentil soup. Place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Lentil Soup recipe in bowl

A few sides to make it a meal

This lentil soup is more filling than most of our vegetarian and vegan dinner recipes, since lentils have a solid amount of protein. Add a salad and you’ve got a satisfying meal! Here are a few sides we like to pair:

Or, browse these 20 cozy sides for soup for more ideas! Let us know what you think in the comments: we hope you’ll find it’s a simple meal prep idea for lunch or dinner.

More lentil soup recipes we love

This lentil soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon


This easy lentil soup is only 7 ingredients (excluding salt and water) and simple to meal prep as a lunch or dinner recipe! It’s one of our top cheap and delicious healthy meal prep ideas.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 9 to 10 cups water
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) dried green or brown lentils
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin*
  • Optional garnishes: Finely chopped parsley, freshly ground black pepper, grated Pecorino cheese

  1. In a large pot of Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and saute for 5 to 6 minutes until tender.
  2. Add the water, lentils and cumin. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Add the additional ½ to 1 cup of water as needed. Taste and add additional salt to taste. 
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate for meal prep: the soup lasts up to 1 week refrigerated and leftovers taste even better. Leftovers may soak up extra broth, so you can add a splash of water and pinch of salt if the texture becomes too thick. 


*If desired, you can change up the spices. This soup is great with 2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder (and a half can of coconut milk, if you like). You can also substitute other spices like dried tarragon, dried oregano, and more. 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Lentil soup, lentil soup recipe, easy lentil soup


Source link

admin chef

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top