Red Lentil Soup

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Ready in less than 30 minutes, red lentil soup is a delicious lunch or dinner. This vegan soup is a great option for meatless meals that satisfy.

I know I’m not the only one who forgets about things they have in the pantry.

We often get into such ruts when it comes to mealtime that formerly frequent ingredients get pushed back in favor of others. 

White bowl of red lentil soup with a tan napkin underneath.

On the other hand, this means that when I feel stuck for what to make, I’ve got the bones of what I need to make something tasty.

Red lentils are one of those ingredients I tend to always have on hand, like rice for risotto or black beans for creamy black bean soup.

I love making this recipe because it’s quick and easy. Plus, we always have the ingredients on hand, which means lunch or dinner is only moments away.

Ingredients for red lentil soup

You’ll need:

Ingredients for red lentil soup on a tile surface with labels.

Carrots – Use two medium carrots. Peel (or scrub clean) and chop as desired. For this recipe, I cut the carrots into quarter-moon pieces.

Celery – You’ll need two stalks or ribs of celery, chopped. 

Onion – White or yellow onion are great for this recipe. If you want a sharper onion flavor, use red onion.

I don’t recommend sweet onions like Vidalia for lentil soup.

Olive oil – Olive oil is used for sautéing the vegetables. 

Any neutral oil can be substituted, or you can use plant-based butter, melted.

Smoked paprika – Smoked paprika is one of my favorite ingredients to use to add a smoky depth to any dish. 

You can substitute sweet or hot paprika, both of which will lend a slightly different flavor to the soup.

Salt and pepper – Use to taste.

Vegetable broth – I like using homemade vegetable broth in soups when I can. Save your veggie scraps from this recipe to make a batch next time!

If you don’t need this recipe to be vegetarian, you can also use chicken stock.

Red lentils – Red lentils are small, thin legumes that cook very quickly. They are sold as split lentils, not whole, which reduces the cooking time.

They break down a bit while cooking, naturally thickening the broth or other liquids they are cooked with.

Red lentils are typically sold in 1-pound bags (or larger) and can be found with the dried beans at the grocery store.

Lemon juice – Feel free to use bottled lemon juice if you don’t have fresh lemons on hand. 

You can also use a fresh lemon and serve the lemon wedges with the soup for diners to add to taste.

Parsley – Both flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley can be used here.

White bowl of red lentil soup with spoon in it.

How to make this recipe

Place a soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery, and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Stir in garlic and cook another 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant.

Mix together the paprika, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle over the vegetables. Add the tomato paste, and give it all a good stir, coating the vegetables in the spices and tomato paste.

Stir in the vegetable broth and lentils.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. 

Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice to taste, adjusting salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with fresh parsley sprinkled on top and sliced French bread.

Overhead view of bowl of red lentil soup with bread and jar of lentils nearby.

Storage tips

Lentil soup is a great make-ahead option, making lunches or dinner for one even easier!

Store leftover soup in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I like to portion into individual servings to make it easy to grab and reheat.

Keep in mind that the red lentils will break down more the longer they sit in the broth, so your leftover soup will be somewhat thicker than when it is freshly made.

Reheat the soup in a small saucepan on the stove over medium to medium-low heat, stirring until warmed through.

You can also reheat the soup in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. I recommend placing a splatter top or paper towel on top of the bowl to prevent any messes.

To freeze this soup, portion into freezer-safe containers and let cool to room temperature. Place on the lids tightly, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as desired.

Spoonful of red lentil soup.

Recipe suggestions

If you want a creamy soup, you can use an immersion blender to blend half or all of the soup.

To make it creamy without blending, add 1 cup of coconut milk (canned).

Add a pop of flavor to finish the dish with fresh lemon zest, ground sumac, crushed red chile flakes, or ground cumin.

For more tomato flavor, add 1 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes.

Add greens! Toward the end of cooking, stir in chopped spinach, kale, collards, or mustard greens. They will wilt quickly in the hot soup.

Have more lentils to use? Try Aimee’s red lentil lasagna for a wonderful cheesy comfort food. Want to try another lentil soup? Jamie’s sausage lentil soup uses green lentils instead of red.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star review below!
It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.

White bowl of red lentil soup with a tan napkin underneath.

Red Lentil Soup

This easy vegetarian lentil soup is perfect for busy weeknights.
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 37 votes
Print Pin Recipe Review
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 177 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • Juice of ½ lemon, plus more to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  • Heat a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery, and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant.
  • Mix together the paprika, salt, and pepper, and sprinkle it over the vegetables. Add the tomato paste. Stir well to coat the vegetables in the spices and paste.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock and lentils, stir, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and lemon wedges on the side.


Calories: 177 kcalCarbohydrates: 22 gProtein: 7 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 1270 mgPotassium: 401 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 5 gIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

Tried this recipe?Leave a comment below!

About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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