Warm up this season with a bowl of Simple Red Lentil Soup. It’s a nutritious, flavorful vegan soup seasoned with cumin and coriander that is both comforting and satisfying!

Simple red lentil soup in a bowl with a spoon. Linen towel and bread on a counter.

Red lentil soup is not only healthy but incredibly filling. Its cousins slow cooker lentil soup and chicken lentil soup are in our regular rotation and kids do not mind at all!

We all need a good healthy soup to bring back some balance to our lives from time to time!

The flavors of onion, garlic, cumin and coriander will fill your kitchen with incredible aromas. Make a big batch and freeze some for later.

Packed with plant based protein, fiber and iron from the split red lentils, this nutrient-dense soup is delicious! One serving contains 19 grams of protein and 23 grams of fiber. Now, that’s a healthy soup!

Red lentil soup in white pot scooped with a ladle and with parsley on top.

What Are Split Red Lentils?

Red lentils are easily spotted in the legume section of the grocery store due to their orange pinkish color! They are quick cooking, do not need soaking, and are perfect for quick cooking soups.

And they are so cheap!

While, red lentils can be purchased as whole, most stores carry only split red lentils which is what you will need for this recipe.

If the package indicates it is a whole red lentil, skip purchasing as that requires a different cooking time.

These small legumes are naturally gluten free, packed with fiber and plant based protein plus many other vitamins and minerals!

They are sweet and slightly nutty and their texture breaks down in soup to almost a creamy consistency.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Red lentils, diced tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, coriander, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, cumin, red pepper flakes, oil.

Simple ingredients make this naturally vegan red lentil soup delicious and warming.

  • Vegetables: Diced onions, carrots and celery plus garlic.
  • Oil: Olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil are great choices. Ghee, which is a clarified butter, will also work well.
  • Spices: Cumin, ground coriander and salt.
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Split red lentils: Dry and rinsed.
  • Diced tomatoes: Low sodium or no salt added.
  • Broth: Water and low sodium bouillon cubes or any store bought (or homemade) low sodium vegetable broth.

How to Make Red Lentil Soup

After a quick saute of your vegetables and spices, most time is hands off as your soup simmers on the stove and develops amazing flavor.

Prep: Preheat dutch oven or big pot over medium heat and add oil to coat the bottom.

Diced onion, carrots and celery in white pot with wooden spoon.

Saute: Add the onion and garlic and begin to saute, stirring occasionally.

Add celery and carrots and continue to stir.

Sauteed veggies with spices in a pot with wooden spoon.

Add spices: Add spices and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring frequently.

Broth, red lentils and diced tomatoes in white pot.

Boil: Add red lentils, diced tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil and cover to cook.

Red lentil vegetable soup garnished with parsley in white pot. Bread slices and linen towel on a counter.

Serve: Add parsley, give it a final stir and serve your lentil soup hot.

Tips

  • No soaking: Lentils and split peas can be cooked from dried with no need to soak first.
  • Other lentils: Yes, you sure can but keep in mind the consistency will be less blended. Neither green nor brown lentils break down as red lentils do. As well as cooking time may change.
  • All water: You can use all water instead of vegetable broth if that’s all you have. Just might add a bit more seasoning after.
  • The kettle trick: If you choose to use water and bouillon cubes, to save time, boil water in a kettle while prepping ingredients.
  • Creamier: Use an immersion blender to blend part of the soup for a creamier consistency.
  • Squeeze of lemon: Before serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten all flavors.

Leftovers and Reheating

Storing: Store this soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freezing: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If you have made a big batch, freeze in smaller amounts and thaw only what you need.

Reheating: Reheat this soup on the stovetop covered on low heat.

Soup served in a bowl.

Serving Suggestions

While this red lentil soup is perfect for light healthy lunch ideas, when serving it as a dinner main you may want to include a few sides!

FAQs

How should I garnish my soup before serving?

Greek yogurt or sour cream and some fresh chopped cilantro or fresh parsley would be delicious toppings! Some freshly ground black pepper is always restaurant quality good.

How long does it keep?

You can store this soup for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze it for up to 3 months as meal prep for busy nights.

Can I make this soup in the Instant Pot?

While it has not been tested, it is possible for most soup recipes. Quickly Saute your vegetables, then spices. Add red lentils, diced tomatoes and broth. Seal and cook on High or Manual 10 minutes. Use Natural Release to avoid splattering of brothy soup mixture.

Can I use chicken stock?

Sure. If you are not a strict vegetarian or vegan, go for it.

More Lentil Recipes

Red lentil soup with vegetables and parsley in a pot with a ladle.
Simple red lentil soup in a bowl with a spoon. Linen towel and bread on a counter.

Simple Red Lentil Soup

Nutritious and flavorful Simple Red Lentil Soup is naturally vegan, comforting and satisfying!
5 from 9 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 331
Diet Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 large onions finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 6 large celery stalks diced
  • 5 large carrots diced
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups red lentils dry & rinsed
  • 9 cups vegetable broth low sodium
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes low sodium
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro finely chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add celery and carrots; sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add cumin, coriander, salt, red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add red lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and stir. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add parsley and serve hot.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 368mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 8g
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. WONDERFUL reminder….love red lentils in soups and will be making this one on our next rainy morning. Sending your website on to Halifax where my family are ‘hosting’ a Ukrainian mom and her young son, hoping ‘dad’ can join them soon. Glori.

        1. Sure! I would sauté veggies with spices and then cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4 hours. Depends on texture of lentils you like. Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a quick, healthy, stick to your ribs dish. I love learning about and using red lentils. I batch cook two dishes every weekend to eat throughout the week and this is on my rotation. It’s delicious and my whole family loves it.
    Thank you, Olena!

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