For the last few days, we have had the nicest weather. The temperatures have gone up to 50 degrees, and for this time of the year in Vermont, that is considered as “nice and warm”. As far as I am concerned, it is not warm by any stretch of the imagination, but I am happy to see the sun shining outside. Sadly, the forecast shows snow tomorrow so I am making soup. This healthy and easy Lentil Soup, to be exact.
The first time I published this Green Lentil Soup recipe was back in February of 2014 and it has been a reader favorite so I decided to give it an update with a few new photos, some helpful information, and a quick how-to video.
Over the years, this has been one of my go-to weeknight recipes for cold winter evenings. My version here is vegan, but below I made sure to list a few ways to add in some animal protein to the soup.
I love this recipe as it is somewhere between a soup and stew making it a perfect main dish for a meatless Monday dinner. If you are like me, enjoy meal worthy soup recipes, I know you will enjoy this lentil soup recipe.
Intrigued? Let me break it down for you.
How to prepare lentils for lentil soup
As it is with beans, it is possible to have foreign objects like leaves, stones, or twigs in a bag of lentils. That is why before I start using them in my recipes, I always comb them thoroughly and give them a quick rinse.
To do so, place lentils in a shallow plate like a pie plate or a baking sheet. Pick out and discard any leaves or small stones.
Next, place lentils in a colander or strainer and rinse under cold running water.
Do I need to soak lentils for this lentil vegetable soup
You do not need to soak lentils before cooking. Compared to most legumes (i.e. chickpeas, beans, black-eyed peas, etc.), it takes a much shorter time for lentils to cook so there is no need to soak them beforehand.
Lentil soup ingredients
To make lentil soup you will need:
- Celery stalks
- Tomato Paste
- Canned Tomatoes
- Aromatics like: Bay Leaf, Thyme, and Fresh Parsley
- Green Lentils ( I used French Du Puy Lentils)
- Vegetable Stock or Water
- Balsamic Vinegar (or red wine vinegar would also work)
How to make healthy lentil soup from scratch
The process for making this easy vegan lentil soup has 2 parts.
First, sautee onions, carrots, celery with a little bit oil in a large heavy bottom pot (i.e. Dutch oven) until softened. Add in tomato paste, garlic, tomatoes, and bay leaf. Sautee for another minute.
Second, add in the lentils and vegetable stock (or water). Put the lid on and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and let it simmer.
Right before serving, remove the bay leaf, stir in the balsamic vinegar and garnish with chopped parsley.
How long do lentil soup take to cook
Depending on the type of lentils you are using, lentils cooking time is about 25-30 minutes.
In this recipe, I used French lentils. It took me just under 45 minutes to cook the soup (including the vegetables) from start to finish.
If you use green lentils instead of Du Puy lentils it might take 5-10 minutes less to cook them.
How much water (or stock) to add to lentil soup:
When it comes to cooking lentils by themselves, my ratio for lentil to water (or vegetable stock) is one to three. In other words, I use 3 cups of liquid to cook 1 cup of lentils.
In this easy green lentil recipe, I used 1 1/2 cups of lentils and cooked it in 6- cups of liquid as I wanted to have extra liquid to cook all the other vegetables.
Want to know more about French lentils?
Here is a few FAQs answered about French du Puy lentils:
What are French du Puy Lentils and how are they different from regular green lentils?
Compared to green lentils, French du Puy lentils are smaller. I personally prefer them because they keep their shape after they are cooked whereas green lentils turn mushy after long cooking time.
In terms of taste, they are pretty similar so you would not compromise flavor if you use one or the other.
Where do I get du Puy lentils?
While they are becoming more and more popular, if you can’t find them in your local supermarket, you can certainly find them in health food stores. Or else, you can order French Lentils (affiliate links) online.
If I do not have French du Puy lentils, can I use regular green lentils for this recipe?
Yes, you can. You can use them interchangeably. Though be aware that the end product (mostly the texture) will look different. Perhaps, a little bit mushy as most of the green lentils will burst.
Can you freeze lentil soup?
Yes, you can. As a matter of fact, I usually make a big batch of this easy lentil soup recipe and freeze some of it for another day. Simply, let the soup come to room temperature, place in airtight containers, and freeze up to 3 months. A day before you are ready to serve, thaw in the fridge overnight.
How long will lentil soup keep fresh in the fridge?
As long as it is kept in an airtight container, this vegan lentil soup will be fresh for 3-4 days. If you are serving it the next day, I recommend reheating only the amount that you plan to serve instead of reheating the whole soup.
What to serve this Frenh lentil soup with?
I usually serve it with a few slices of my no knead bread and a big green salad.
Is lentil soup healthy?
Absolutely! Green lentils high in fiber and protein and low in fat, which makes them a great alternative to meat. They are also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
Other lentil recipes you might like:
Other vegan soup recipes you might like:
- Vegan Chili Recipe
- Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup
- Sunchoke Soup Recipe
- Kabocha Squash Soup
- Vegan Chocolate Chili
- Sweet Potato Soup
- Cauliflower and Celeriac Soup
- Pumpkin Ginger Soup
- Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
French Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves chopped
- 1 1/2 cups French lentils Lentils Du Puy, rinsed and picked over
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth/stock preferably homemade
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley chopped - plus more as garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until they are softened, 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add French lentils, salt and pepper. Give it a big stir to make sure that everything is mixed evenly.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, turn the heat up to medium-high, put the lid on and bring it to a boil. Once boiled, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for 30-35 minutes.
- Right before serving, take out the bay leaf and stir in the balsamic vinegar and chopped parsley.
- Pour the soup in individual bowls and garnish it with more parsley.
Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Hearty Lentil Soup recipe and my mother’s lentil soup recipe.
This recipe was first published back in 2014 but recently updated with new photos, information, and a quick how-to video.