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What makes this the best vegan lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds.

Vegan lentil soup in bowl
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Are you on the lentil train? Lentils are low in calories, high in nutrition, and budget friendly. Even better, they’re a good environmental choice since they make less of a climate impact than eating a burger. So here’s our favorite new way to eat them: the best ever vegan lentil soup. It’s so delicious, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. This vegan soup is ready to amaze you.

Jump to the recipe—now.

Why people love this vegan lentil soup

To make sure this really was the best vegan lentil soup, we tested this recipe with a few of our readers. Luckily, this cozy soup went over better than expected with our real-life recipe testers! Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Made the soup last night. I loved the flavor. My husband said this could easily go into regular rotation at our house!” -Laura
  • “I made your Best Vegan Lentil Soup and totally agree with the title of the recipe! Delicious!” -Sarah
Vegan lentil soup recipe

Flavor secrets for vegan lentil soup

This vegan lentil soup is full of big flavor, despite being made only with plants. Some recipes rely on bacon or sausage to keep eaters coming back for more, but this one does it without meat or dairy. Even our kids love this healthy recipe! Here are the tricks to making a lentil soup that’s irresistible:

  • Sauteed fennel brings a nuance in flavor. Using fresh fennel in addition to onion brings a smoky, nuanced undertone to this soup. Find fennel in mainstream groceries in the produce section: it looks like a big onion with a fuzzy top (how to cut it!).
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes lend a bright sweetness. Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweeter out of the can than standard tomatoes, which can have a bitter finish. If you can’t find them, grab the best quality canned tomatoes that you can.
  • Adding garlic at the end of cooking amps the flavor. Garlic is usually added at the beginning of making a soup, when you’re sauteing the vegetables. But here you’ll throw in minced garlic at the end when the soup is done simmering. It adds even more flavor this way! Let the soup stand for 5 minutes to infuse the garlic aroma.
Lentils in a bowl

A few benefits of lentils

Lentils are not only tasty: they’re full of nutrition benefits and are inexpensive to buy! So this vegan lentil soup is not only good for your pocketbook, it’s healthy too. Here are a few of the major nutritional benefits of lentils:

  • They contain protein and fiber. Lentils have a large amount of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber (per Harvard).
  • They are low in fat and calories. Lentils have virtually no saturated fat and are a low calorie food.

They’re good for the planet, too!

Just what do lentils have to do with the planet? More than you may think. A recent New York Times article on food and climate change indicated that the world’s food system is responsible for about ¼ of the planet-warming greenhouse gases.

The chart in the article shows the difference between beef and lentils (grouped under Beans). Beef accounts for 40 times more greenhouse gases than lentils.

If that’s not motivation to make a vegan lentil soup once in a while, we’re not sure what is! For more ideas for what to make, try this lentil salad or lentil curry. Or, check out our top lentil recipes or vegan lentil recipes.

Lentil soup recipe
You can also make this one in a pressure cooker!

Lentil soup variations

Here are a few variations on lentil soup that you might enjoy:

Lentil soup recipe

What to serve with lentil soup

What to serve with this lentil soup? Just a soup does not a meal make! (Unless you eat a few servings, which we often do.) Here are a few things we’d serve with this soup:

This lentil soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Lentil Soup

Best Lentil Soup (Really!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 11 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
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What makes this the best lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds.


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry brown or green lentils
  • 28-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or chopped standard spinach)


  1. Dice the onion. Dice the fennel. Peel and dice the carrots. Grate the garlic and set aside to stir in once the soup is cooked. (Got an Instant Pot? Go to Instant Pot Lentil Soup and continue at Step 2!)
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and saute for 6 to 7 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots, lentils, tomatoes, broth, water, salt, paprika, and oregano.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 22 to 25 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  4. Stir in the spinach and grated garlic, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Taste and season with additional salt and fresh ground pepper as necessary. Serve immediately. Stores refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for 3 to 4 months.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

More with lentils

There are lots more lentil recipes that are a tasty way to incorporate this superfood into your diet. Here are a few you might enjoy:

  • Lentil Salad or French Lentil Salad It’s easy to make this unique variety of lentils taste incredible! This lentil salad features a Dijon dressing, shallots, goat cheese and fresh mint.
  • Hearty Lentil Stew Packed with hearty flavor and loaded with plant based protein: perfect for a simple lunch or dinner!
  • Lentil Curry Go for this simple, tasty meal made with lentils!
  • Seasoned Brown Lentils An easy lunch or dinner idea: lentils! This basic recipe makes perfectly seasoned lentils to eat as a fast meal, or use in tacos, salads, and more.
  • Masoor Dal (Indian Red Lentils) A spiced Indian lentil dish that’s equal parts flavorful and cozy; serve with rice or naan bread for dipping.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Adam Adam says:

    Do u Simmer lid ON or lid OFF for the 22-25 mins?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:


  2. Michael says:

    If you think eating lentils is great for the environment then you are deluding yourself. Measuring “green house gases” for a cow vs a plant is plain ignorance and stupidity. Consider that China, India, and the Middle East pump out more of these gases than England and the U.S. combined any change eating lentils has will quickly be eliminated by those three countries. Hell, Saudi Arabia uses most of their oil to burn in desalination plants. Eating vegetarian is like going to a forest fire and saying “I’ll make a big difference by peeing on it”.

  3. L. Merredith says:

    Hi there! My vegetarian friend recommended your website as I am starting my vegetarian journey. Thank you so much for putting this many vegetarian recipes on your website! As I start my culinary journey, I am struggling with where to get started and how as I was raised a meat, potatoes, vegetable-type of way. Your beautiful pictures make this an exciting process, your recipes make me ready to taste, but what I’m most appreciative for is that you say what to serve with the recipes — THANK YOU! My biggest challenge is making vegetarian meals that are filling and equivalent to a meal so this helps so very much!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome! :)

  4. M. says:

    Wonderful soup! I didn’t have a fennel bulb so I used an apple instead but added some fennel seeds and it was delicious. Next time I’ll have a fennel bulb to use, but certainly a real keeper!

  5. April says:

    This recipe was so good. My whole family loved it. We are doing our first ever Daniel Fast and this recipe was on point. My husband said it was very good, and even my picky 16 year old said it was good. We enjoyed it with pita bread. Thank you so much for posting this recipe.

  6. Holly says:

    Hi, looks like fresh dill on top in the photos, but recipe doesn’t call for fresh dill. Is that what it is? Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      That’s some of the fennel frond!

  7. Theresa S says:

    I think this has potential to be a very flavorful soup. I do cook extensively and always bloom my spices in the cooking oil along with the vegetables and I didn’t do that here since I followed the recipe the first time. Additionally I’ll increase the garlic to 2-3 cloves as well and let it heat through with the fennel and onion and bloomed spices right before adding in all the liquid. Per some of the comments below I also found this quite lacking in salt since I use no salt added chicken broth and I ended up adding in two more teaspoons. I also added additional garlic powder as the garlic really did not permeate the dish at all. The spinach in the dish really is beautiful against the red of the paprika and tomatoes.

  8. Isabella Ava says:

    Hello Sonja & Alex,

    I am a big fan of your gluten-free recipes. Tried some of them at my home and my husband loves them a lot though he is not a big loved of gluten-free foods.

    Anyways, I have a question. Yesterday I went to a grocery shop near to my house. And noticed a product labeled as Non-Gluten. Is there any difference between non gluten and gluten-free products?


    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Hi! My understanding is that they are the same.

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