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Red Lentil Soup

This easy red lentil soup is creamy, hearty, and also dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free. It's loaded with veggies and a fragrant blend of spices for a healthy and delicious weeknight dinner or lunch.

Soup season means I'm whipping out my stock pots to make big batches of hearty soups and stews with seasonal produce.

From Chunky Vegan Potato Soup with Kale for a light lunch to Creamy Chickpea + Pumpkin Stew for a comforting dinner, you just can't go wrong with a warm bowl of veggie-packed soup this time of year.

And this red lentil soup has the heartiness and protein of a stew with tons of veggies and spices for added nutrients and flavor. This recipe is sure to become a favorite!

overhead of a pot of red lentil soup with cream and herbs

Why You’ll Love This Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Here's what makes this red lentil soup one of my go-to fall dinners:

  • Hearty and filling. Red lentils are packed with protein, making this the kind of soup that will keep you full and satisfied for hours.
  • Super healthy. There are tons of good-for-you ingredients in this soup—it's high in fiber, protein, and vitamins.
  • Easy to make. Although the soup needs to simmer to perfection for a bit, there’s very little hands-on time involved in this recipe. 
  • Perfect for meal prep and make-ahead meals. Red lentil soup is one of those glorious recipes that tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge. All the flavors mix and mingle!
ingredients for red lentil soup with tomatoes and carrots

What You’ll Need

Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need to make red lentil soup. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact quantities for each ingredient. 

  • Olive oil – You can use avocado oil or ghee if you prefer.
  • Onion – I use white, but yellow is fine too; it simply has a milder flavor.
  • Garlic 
  • Carrot 
  • Tomato paste – For added umami. Freeze the extra tomato paste and you’ll have what you need the next time you make this soup!
  • Cumin, chili powder, and Aleppo pepper – A combination of spices that’s warm and earthy, making them an exceptional pairing with red lentils.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Vegetable broth – Use homemade or store-bought.
  • Red lentils – These puree into a creamy texture.
  • Lemon juice

Can I Substitute Green Lentils for Red Lentils?

No, green lentils are larger and will not break down as quickly or as smoothly as red lentils, so it's best to stick with the red lentils for this recipe. Red lentils have a creamy texture when cooked, which makes them perfect for soups and stews like this one.

How to Make Red Lentil Soup

Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need to do.

collage of cooking carrots onions and garlic in a soup pot

Cook the aromatics. Heat the oil in a pot set over medium heat, then sauté the onion, garlic, and carrot until the onion is translucent.

collage of adding aromatics to a pot with tomato paste and seasonings

Add the spices and tomato paste. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, chili and Aleppo pepper and cook for about a minute.

adding broth and lentils to a pot with tomatoes for soup

Simmer. Pour in the tomato sauce, broth, and water, then stir in the lentils. Bring the soup to a boil, then partially cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

overhead of two blender containers blending ingredients for lentil soup

Puree. If desired, puree half the soup in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

pouring blender contents into a pot of creamy red lentils soup

Finish. Add the pureed portion back to the pot and stir in the lemon juice. Serve with fresh herbs and vegan yogurt or sour cream.

Tips for Success

This is a straightforward red lentil soup recipe, but these additional tips will make it even better.

  • Toast the tomato paste. Toasting the tomato paste and dried spices adds caramelized notes to the soup and brings out the natural flavor compounds in the spices for a bolder and richer taste.
  • Make it creamy. I like to puree half the soup for a consistency that's smooth and creamy, but not totally flat. If you're short on time, you can skip the blending altogether. For a smoother soup, puree all of it. You can also use an immersion blender to blend until you reach your desired texture.
  • Season to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving. If you’re using vegetable stock instead of broth, for example, you’re likely to need a little more salt.
ladle full of red lentil soup in a red pot

Serving Suggestions

You can serve your red lentil soup with any of your favorite toppings. Here are some I love:

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover red lentil soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave before serving. 

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Yes, this soup is very freezer-friendly! To freeze, store it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container for up to 6 months. Be sure to leave some room at the top of your container, as the soup will expand as it freezes. 

three bowls of red lentil soup with cream and herbs

More Cozy Soup Recipes

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

4.8 from 8 votes
This creamy vegan red lentil soup is made with tomatoes, carrots, and a range of delicious spices for a comforting and healthy fall or winter dinner.
author: Alyssa
yield: 6 servings
bowl of red lentil soup with cream and herbs
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and carrot and saute until the onion is translucent.
    collage of cooking carrots onions and garlic in a soup pot
  • Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, chili and Aleppo (if using). Cook another minute or so to allow the spices to bloom a bit.
    collage of adding aromatics to a pot with tomato paste and seasonings
  • Pour the tomato sauce, broth and water into the pot and stir in the lentils. Bring the soup to a boil then partially cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
    adding broth and lentils to a pot with tomatoes for soup
  • Once the lentils are cooked, blitz half of the soup in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. This step is optional but gives the soup a really amazing texture!
    overhead of two blender containers blending ingredients for lentil soup
  • Add the blended portion back to the pot and stir in the lemon juice just before serving.
    pouring blender contents into a pot of creamy red lentils soup
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and a dollop of vegan yogurt or sour cream.
    bowl of red lentil soup with cream on top

Notes

Storage Tips

  • Refrigerator: store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove or microwave.
  • Freezer: store in a sealed container (preferably glass) in the freezer for up to 6 months. Be sure to leave some room at the top of your container as the soup will expand as it freezes. To heat, allow soup to thaw for 1 – 2 hours at room temp, then heat through on the stove or in the microwave.
The spices I used were inspired by this New York Times recipe. Couldn't recommend their recipes enough!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1038mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2501IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 5mg
cuisine: American
course: Soup

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