This vegan red lentil vegetable soup is so comforting and filling. It’s the perfect healthy plant based weeknight dinner. It also keeps well if made ahead, so it’s also a great option for lunch meal prep.
What kind of lentils are best for soup?
There are several different varieties of lentils that you can buy at most large grocery stores. They’re easy to tell apart because they vary by color, and are often named according to their colors.
Green lentils range in size and color from small and pale to dark and larger. They hold their shape well while cooking. These are good for eating lentils on their own. For example, a whole lentil soup, like this Vegetable Lentil Soup.
Brown lentils are very similar to large green lentils. They’re the most common variety and also hold their shape well. Both green and brown lentils cook for 35-40 minutes, with about 2.5 cups of liquid per cup of lentils.
Brighter colored red, yellow and orange lentils, are smaller and faster cooking. They’ve often been split, which means they’re broken down into smaller pieces. For this reason, they’ll cook up in 15 to 20 minutes with 1.5 cups of liquid per cup of dry lentils.
Split red lentils are ideal for this vegetable-packed vegan soup. They get very soft when cooked. When pureed, they create a delicous, silky texture. Not to mention the beautiful orange color.
Add Middle Eastern Flavors to your Vegan Red Lentil Soup
Pureed soups pack so much flavor. And we didn’t hold back when it comes to amping up this healthy vegan vegetable lentil soup.
Harissa adds a bit of spice and sweetness. If you haven’t tried harissa yet, it’s a delicous Middle Eastern red pepper paste. These days you can find it in most major grocery stores. Or, of course, online. It’s delicous on a wide range of dishes. I personally love it with scrambled eggs.
We also boost the Middle Eastern flavors in this vegan red lentil soup with some carefully chosen spices. Cumin, coriander, cayenne and garlic add a wonderful balance of warming spices, heat and savoriness.
Build Soup Flavor with Vegetables
We also filled this healthy weeknight dinner with tons of fresh vegetables. We used a classic soup base of carrots, onion, celery and shallot to start. You’ll start by sweating these to remove moisture and soften up the veggies.
Then, in go the red lentils and and fire roasted diced tomatoes. You’ll immediately get the beautiful red color we love in this healthy soup. All that’s left to do is let the lentils break down and let the flavors develop.
When you’re satisfied that everything is fully cooked, it’s time to puree. The easiest way to puree hot soup is with an immersion blender. If you don’t have one in your kitchen, I strongly recommend adding it to your wishlist. You’ll quickly find plenty of uses. And, it saves you from getting out the blender. We’re all for one less dirty dish!
This soup develops a lot of flavor as it sits, so it’s a wonderful make-ahead meal. It’s great for vegetarian meal prep too because you can quickly reheat it for lunch all week long.
Vegan Garnishes For your Soup
This soup is a true crowd-pleaser at our house, even with our range of food preferences and requirements. And the best part is that everyone can garnish a bowl with their favorite toppings.
I love to garnish my vegan lentil soup with plain vegan yogurt, cilantro and crispy roasted lentils. These crispy za’atar chickpeas would also be delicous and crunchy.
Here are some more wonderful ways to top your vegan lentil soup:
- A swirl of creamy tahini
- An extra dollop of harissa
- A pile of freshly chopped herbs like cilantro, mint and oregano
- Crunchy croutons–bonus points if they’re homemade!
- A sprinkle of shredded vegan cheese, like parmesan or mozzarella
Let us know how you love to top your warming winter soup in the comments below!
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This crushed lentil soup is so comforting and filling that it’s the perfect fall or winter dinner. It’s packed with Middle Eastern flavors and plenty of vegetables.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups red lentils, rinse and sort before using
- 2 15. oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp harissa spice blend
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- For garnish: plain vegan yogurt, cilantro, crispy lentils
- In a large stock pot, heat olive oil to medium.
- Add carrot, onion, celery and shallots. Sauté 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add salt, garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until tender.
- Add all remaining ingredients except lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 35-40 minutes, until lentils are completely tender.
- Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree (you can also use a regular high speed blender – just be careful!).
- Stir in lemon juice and adjust as desired.
- Serve with vegan yogurt, fresh cilantro and roasted lentils.