The best vegan lentil soup – made in just one pot with inexpensive, healthy ingredients and packed with hearty, wholesome texture and flavor! Perfect for enjoying alone, with bread for dipping, or a side salad!
One-Pot Vegan Lentil Soup with Vegetables!
I usually refrain from labeling recipes as ‘the BEST’ because I know that can mean something different to everyone. However, I really couldn’t help myself with this hearty vegan lentil soup! With a combination of brown or green lentils, several flavorful veggies (including the classic soup-boosting mirepoix), and carefully selected herbs/spices (because no one likes bland soup!), this vegan soup is jam-packed with wholesome nutrition, tons of flavor, and makes for a cozy, comforting meal any day!
Combine that with the fact that this lentil soup recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, is made almost entirely from pantry staples, and is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and several nutrients (including iron and folate). The results are a filling, well-balanced, crowd-pleasing (including with children) appetizer, side, or main for everyone to enjoy!
Even better, I’ve included stovetop, Instant Pot, and Crockpot methods, and any soup you don’t eat immediately will save well in the fridge and freezes/reheats wonderfully. Not to mention that it tastes even better on day two. So It’s a good thing this healthy lentil soup recipe makes a large batch of 8 servings!
If you’re looking for more delicious and nutritious vegan lentil recipes, you might enjoy this simple lentil stew, lentil shepherd’s pie, lentil moussaka, healthy taco cups, or a hearty lentil bolognese!
While the ingredients list for this lentil vegetable soup may not be the shortest, it comprises primarily pantry staples with a careful selection of spices to make the most delicious, best lentil soup recipe you’ve ever tried!
- Lentils: Green or brown lentils (adjust the cooking time accordingly) are best for this soup. Red lentils will be mushy and I don’t recommend them for this recipe.
- Vegetable broth (not pictured): Use vegetable broth (low sodium if preferred) or water.
- Vegetables: I used a combination of celery, carrot, cauliflower, and a can of chopped tomatoes (fresh will also work when in season).
- Aromatics: You’ll need ginger, garlic, and onion for this lentil soup recipe.
- Spices: You’ll need a combination of onion powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground caraway seeds, turmeric powder, smoked paprika, bay leaves, red pepper flakes (optional, to taste), and salt and black pepper.
- Liquid seasonings: This healthy lentil soup uses a combination of tamari (or use coconut aminos if soy-free) and balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar or lemon juice could work in a pinch) to add savory tang and umami.
- Sweetener: A pinch of coconut sugar (or brown sugar) or a drizzle of maple syrup will balance the acidity from the tomatoes and other savory elements.
- Coconut Milk (not pictured): Full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream is my preferred option. However, any vegan cream (like soy, oat, cashew, etc.) will work or a dairy-free half and half (like SILK). Only use whole plant-based milk in a pinch. As the results won’t be as rich and creamy.
- Oil: I used olive oil, but any neutral cooking oil will work. For an oil-free version, you could use a little vegetable broth or water.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
Thanks to the versatility of lentils, this healthy lentil soup recipe can easily be adapted in several ways, especially with additional add-ins, including:
- Herbs: I love to garnish the soup with fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or cilantro.
- Spinach/Kale: Add a few handfuls into the vegetable lentil soup in the last few minutes (just long enough for them to wilt). Kale will need 4-5 minutes more than spinach.
- Other vegetables: I often use this lentil vegetable soup as an excuse to clear out my crisper drawer. You could add peas, eggplant, mushroom, zucchini, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, squash, etc.
- Lime/ Lemon juice: Serve the soup with slices/wedges of lemon. The brightness really lifts the soup and adds depth you’ll adore!
- Yogurt: A swirl of non-dairy plain yogurt is a fantastic way to garnish this lentil stew recipe when serving.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Vegan Lentil Soup?
Below is the stovetop method for this lentil vegetable soup. For the crockpot/ Instant Pot lentil soup instructions, keep scrolling to the FAQ section!
- First, rinse the lentils, discarding any shriveled lentils and debris. At the same time, chop the carrot, celery, onion, and cauliflower (and tomatoes, if you’re using fresh ones). Also, mince or grate the ginger and garlic.
- Then, heat the oil in a large pot, thick-bottomed pan, or Dutch oven/casserole dish and add the chopped onion. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, celery, and carrot. Stir and sauté for a further 3 minutes.
- Next, add all the spices (except the bay leaves), sugar, lentils, cauliflower, and vegetable broth. Stir and then bring to a boil.
- Add the bay leaves, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, stir, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Finally, remove the bay leaves, add the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and coconut cream and mix well. Optionally blend the soup partially, garnish with fresh herbs, and enjoy!
What to Serve with Lentil Soup?
You can enjoy a big bowl of this hearty soup alone or with sides, including:
- Bread: A crusty loaf OR flatbread like naan or potato flatbread.
- Sandwich: This vegan soup pairs well with several simple sandwiches and wraps as well as vegan grilled cheese (perfect for dipping!)
- Grains: For an even heartier meal, pair the soup with a side of rice or quinoa.
- Salad: I love to enjoy hearty soup with a nutritious leafy green side salad.
How to Store?
Make ahead: You can cut down on prep time for this vegetable lentil soup by pre-chopping the vegetables and measuring out all the spices/seasonings 2-3 days in advance. Store the veggies separately in airtight containers/bags in the refrigerator and the seasonings together in a container at room temperature.
Store: Once cooled, store leftover lentil vegetable soup in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Freeze: Once cooled, separate the lentil vegetable soup into portions (either in airtight containers with ½-inch headspace, a large silicone muffin mold, or a reusable Ziplock bag with the excess air squeezed out). Store in the freezer for up to three months. Then, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Reheat: Use either the stovetop or microwave (in 40-60 second increment stirring in between) to reheat the vegan lentil soup until piping hot, then optionally garnish with parsley (and lemon wedges). If desired, add a splash of additional milk/broth to the soup while reheating, if it’s thickened somewhat while sitting.
Can I use red lentils?
Red lentils take less time to cook and break down, becoming mushy. For that reason, I don’t use them in this recipe.
If you’re looking for vegan lentil recipes utilizing red lentils, you might enjoy this red lentil dahl or these red lentil patties.
Can I make the lentil stew in an Instant Pot?
I haven’t tried, so I can’t guarantee results; however, it should be straightforward. First, use the sauté function to sauté the ingredients (steps 1 + 2 in the stovetop method). Then, add the remaining ingredients (except the balsamic, tamari, and coconut cream). Place the chopped tomatoes on top and don’t mix them in. Set to MANUAL high pressure for 8 minutes. Allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes before manually ‘quick releasing’ it. Then stir in the remaining ingredients and enjoy!
Can I make lentil soup with a crock pot?
Though I haven’t tried before with this particular recipe, it should work well. For the best results, start by sauteing the various ingredients on the stovetop (step 1 +2). Then transfer those to a crockpot/slow cooker with all the remaining ingredients (Except the balsamic, tamari, and coconut cream). Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Before serving, stir in the remaining ingredients- voila!
You may need an additional cup or so of vegetable broth (or slightly more) if the lentil soup looks a little too thick/dry.
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- For extra flavor: Bloom the spices by adding them to the pot with the sautéing onion to fry and become fragrant. You could add even more flavor with a topping of tempered spices (called a tarka/tadka) and chili powder in oil, drizzled over the soup.
- Adjust the consistency: Simply add more vegetable stock if you prefer a brothier lentil soup. For a creamier soup, use an immersion blender/blender to puree as much of the lentil mixture as you’d like (or all of it).
- Adjust the texture: You can slice the veggies into small, even-sized pieces. If you prefer a chunkier soup, then make slightly larger pieces. However, remember that the cooking time may need to be adapted accordingly.
- Don’t skip the sauté steps: No matter which method you use for making soups, sauteing the vegetables and aromatics is a KEY way to infuse your soup with tons of flavor. The sauteing will lightly caramelize the veggies and enhance their sweetness and flavor.
- Be careful not to overcook the lentils: Otherwise, they’ll become mushy, which isn’t the aim of this lentil vegetable soup.
- Adjust the spices to taste: I always taste test the soup at the end and adjust any spices/seasonings.
More Vegan Soup Recipes
- Roasted cauliflower soup
- Creamy carrot ginger soup
- Vegan pumpkin soup
- German potato soup
- Creamy vegan lasagna soup
- Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Or you may enjoy browsing through my entire collection of vegan soup recipes!
If you try my best vegan lentil soup recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan—I love seeing them.
Vegan Lentil Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion (1 medium-sized) diced
- 3 big garlic cloves minced
- 1 small head of (400 g) cauliflower chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 3 cups (600 g) dried lentils brown or green, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz can (400 g) chopped tomatoes
- 8 cups (2 liters) vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fresh ginger minced
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- 2 dried whole bay leaves
- 2 tbsp tamari (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup (30 ml) coconut cream or dairy-free half and half
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.Heat oil in a LARGE pot over medium heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, carrot, and celery, and sauté for 3 more minutes.
- Add all spices, lentils, cauliflower, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Now add the bay leaves and cook the soup with a lid on for about 5 minutes.
- Then add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Let the soup simmer for a further 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but not mushy.
- Finally, remove the bay leaves, add the tamari (or coconut aminos), balsamic vinegar, and coconut cream, and stir.
- Optionally blend the soup partially, garnish with fresh herbs, and enjoy!
- Adjust the consistency: Simply add more vegetable stock if you prefer a brothier soup.
- The soup freezes well.
- Recipe serves 8. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
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This was outrageously good and I’m not even a soup lover! I took out a few cups at the end, blended it and added it back in and it was more like a stew. Served it with lots of fresh coriander and a dollop of yoghurt on top and it was so perfect!
Sounds awesome, Becca. 🙂