vegetable soup in bowl with spoon and towel

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

If you’re a big soup fan, be sure to try my hearty vegan posole verde and simple roasted tomato soup!

vegetable soup in bowl with spoon and towel

Easy Lentil Vegetable Soup Recipe

This one pot, simple lentil vegetable soup recipe comes together in less than 45 minutes. It's a healthy and filling meal, packed with gut-friendly fibre and plant-based protein from the lentils to keep you feeling energized, even on the coldest day.
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

This soup will keep well for five days in the fridge, or in the freezer for one month. Simply reheat on the stove at a gentle simmer with extra water or stock if necessary.