Warm, comforting, filling and healthy – soup is the ultimate feel good meal. And this easy lentil vegetable soup recipe is a total crowd-pleaser. Packed with plant-based protein and a simple yet richly flavourful broth, it comes together quickly with everyday ingredients and is low effort enough to be weeknight-doable.
Lately, I’ve been craving lighter, more broth-based soups and I find that some lentil soups can be really heavy in both taste and texture. This one isn’t. It’s light and bright with tons of flavour from aromatic vegetables, a few spices and vegetarian beef-flavoured bouillon concentrate.
How to Make a Flavourful Lentil Soup
My grandmother was famous for making delicious soups with no stock. Like, nary a bouillon cube or can of broth. Just water!
She was always so good at layering in flavours, which started with a bit of fat (which carries the flavour molecules), always included some kind of aromatic vegetables, and then time. What I’ve learned is that there also needs to be a good balance of acid to sweetness too. Lentils are very earthy and savoury, so I boosted those notes with cumin, which has its own earthiness. Tomatoes add a little bit of acidity and coriander has a citrusy note that brightens the flavour even more.
A soup base is typically a ton of healthy aromatic vegetables – garlic, onion, celery and carrots – that, cooked until golden, contribute plenty of sweetness. Don’t skimp here! One clove of garlic isn’t going to do it…you need A LOT to stand out in a broth. Fennel could work well for a change, or you could add a squeeze of lemon juice to bump up the citrusy flavour.
I also found, thanks to my friend Tori, a really delicious alternative to using vegetable stock, it’s a broth concentrate that has SO MUCH flavour. I’m quite obsessed.
This easy lentil vegetable soup recipe hits all the right notes for me:
- its flavour reminds me of the vegetable soup I used to eat growing up
- it’s a one pot meal that only takes a dozen simple ingredients
- it’s an easy, filling weeknight meal that packs in the veggies
- it’s a super healthy meal, packed with fibre for a healthy gut and plant-based protein
Easy Lentil Vegetable Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 carrots diced
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ quarts water
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes salt free
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian beef-flavoured broth concentrate I used Better than Bouillon brand
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup dried green lentils sorted and rinsed
- 1 cup minced curly parsley for topping, optional
- Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes until veggies begin to soften, turn glossy and start to brown.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add garlic, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn, for one minute.
- Add water, tomatoes, broth concentrate, bay, thyme, cumin, and coriander and let come to a boil.
- Once boiling, add lentils and reduce heat to medium, maintaining a gentle boil to cook lentils for about 18-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender but firm.
- Remove bay leaves, taste soup and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Divide among large soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley.