Enjoy this red lentil soup for a filling meal full of flavor. I love a hearty soup and this one ticks all the boxes: perfectly spiced, creamy, diversely textured and warm. I love soups for Fall and this one is always at the top of my meal list.

white bowl of red lentil soup with cilantro, avocado and red pepper flakes on top.

A spiced lentil soup full of warm, rich flavors might best be served in a sweater with a good book, over a dinner table with loved ones, or in a mug while taking in soccer practice.

Let’s be honest, this soup can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. It’s a filling soup recipe that will leave you satisfied.

Table of Contents
  1. Red Lentil Soup Ingredients
  2. Buying the Right Lentils
  3. How to Make Spiced Lentil Soup
  4. Tips on Cooking Soup
  5. Red Lentil Soup FAQs
  6. More Comforting Recipes
  7. Red Lentil Soup Recipe

Red Lentil Soup Ingredients

labeled ingredients for a hearty soup including vegetable stock, fire-roasted tomatoes, red lentils, cilantro, spices, lemon juice, avocado, ginger root, coconut oil, red pepper flakes, celery, garlic, yellow onions and spinach.

While this spiced lentil soup has a long-ish ingredient list, they all work together to produce a tasty result. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on these rawkin’ fresh vegetables and vibrant spices.

  • Coconut Oil: My favorite healthy fat to help sauté a few of the ingredients.
  • Yellow Onions: My go-to onion for its buttery, mild flavor.
  • Celery Stalks: An often hidden, yet necessary ingredient to make any soup a success. Pro tip: use the leafy ends of the celery in the soup if you can! They bring even more flavor.
  • Garlic: I always mince fresh garlic for the most nutrition. Garlic is a powerful health booster.
  • Fresh Ginger Root: This anti-inflammatory root packs a powerful punch, so a little goes a long way!
  • Spices: I use a blend of cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes to add warmth, earthiness and just a bit of heat.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: If you like heat then these are a no-brainer! Use regular diced tomatoes to tone my soup down a bit.
  • Vegetable Stock: Homemade or store-bought, look for a stock with real ingredients.
  • Red Lentils: These have a less-earthy flavor than green lentils do. Red lentils also get softer during cooking, which is what I wanted for this soup.
  • Spinach: I’ll always add leafy greens, and this soup’s no exception!
  • Lemon Juice: You’d be shocked at how much a squeeze of fresh lemon juice makes to bring out the brightness of this soup.
  • Cilantro: A detoxifying herb with a unique flavor.
  • Avocado: A creamy, healthy fat that helps your tastebuds absorb the spicier elements.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Just a bit of flare to finish this spiced soup the right way!

Buying the Right Lentils

I always look for lentils in clear packaging so that I can see how vibrant the color is. The brighter the color, the fresher the lentils. Green lentils can be used in this spiced lentil soup, yet they don’t get as soft as red lentils and have a much stronger flavor.

Look for lentils next to dried beans, or in the soup aisle. You can also look in the international aisle of most grocery stores. Skip over the ones in spices or other liquids, you want plain, dried lentils for this recipe.

How to Make Spiced Lentil Soup

step by step instructions for making lentil soup: sauté, stir in remaining ingredients, add vegetable stock, then after the soup has simmered, add in spinach.

This soup does have a few more components than some, yet it’s 100% worth it at first bite. Here’s how I make my Red Lentil Soup:

  1. Sauté the onion and celery in coconut oil (or the oil of your choice). This releases the flavors and adds a lovely warmth to your final product.
  2. Sauté the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn (this can happen quickly!). Use fresh minced garlic for the best results.
  3. Add spices and tomatoes, namely turmeric, cumin and fire-roasted tomatoes. Stir quickly to combine so that the spices don’t stick to the bottom.
  4. Add vegetable stock and lentils and give the soup a few stirs to cover the lentils. Now all you need to do is allow the soup to simmer until the lentils are soft (no crunch!).
  5. Add spinach and lemon juice once the soup is ready. Lemon juice is a #gamechanger so don’t forget it! Feel free to taste the spiced lentil soup and add in a bit of salt and pepper, or just let people add it to their own bowls after serving.

Boom! Soup is served. I like to top mine with cilantro, avocado and red pepper flakes for a bit of healthy fat and spice to finish up this masterpiece.

Tips on Cooking Soup

My number one tip for the best-tasting soup all the time is this sauté the aromatic ingredients. Whether you are slow-cooking your soup or just simmering on the stove top, taking a few minutes to sauté a few of the veggies first opens them up nicely. I want my soup to be as flavorful as possible and this is the way to do it.

My second tip is to make extra! Whether you’re feeding one person or a family of five, make sure to have a few extra servings when you’re finished. This way you can freeze or refrigerate them to enjoy later in the week for quick lunches or dinners. No need to chop all that produce more than once.

Finally, use what you have on hand. Soup often contains several ingredients, yet they can easily be swapped for something that’s easier for you to find or less expensive to purchase in your town. Living in Florida gives me access to a wide variety of produce that I know isn’t available all over the United States. If you ever need help with a swap, just drop a comment below and let me help!

Red Lentil Soup FAQs

What goes well with red lentils?

I’m pairing red lentils with a variety of produce including onions, celery, garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, turmeric, fire-roasted tomatoes, spinach, lemon, cilantro, avocado and red pepper flakes in this gorgeous soup recipe. It’s got a bit of spice and the squeeze of lemon brings out a wonderful brightness that will have you grabbing seconds.

Is red lentil soup good for you?

Mine is! I use as many fresh, whole food ingredients as I can so that this soup nourishes and helps boost your immune system during cooler weather.

Do I need to soak lentils before adding them to soup?

Not in my soup. I do rinse my lentils before adding them to the soup pot, but they will soften nicely inside the simmering stock without the need to soak beforehand.

2 white bowls of red lentil soup ready to be eaten topped with fresh parsley, next to a small bowl of salt and a golden spoon.

More Comforting Recipes

I love comfort food as much as the next person, yet I don’t love how my body feels after filling it with many of the inflammatory ingredients that make up ‘comfort food.’ I get super stoked when I find a great plant-based version of my favorite foods. Enjoy the warm flavors and feelings without the tired bloat afterward! Here are a few of my family’s go-to comfort food recipes:

Don’t forget to rate + review this recipe once you’ve tried it. I can’t wait for your feedback!

4.75 from 212 votes

Red Lentil Soup

Dive into a nourishing and fulfilling soup recipe loaded with vegetables, hearty lentils and natural spices. This red lentil soup is the perfect cool weather delight and can be made once and frozen to serve again and again this season.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Healing
Serves: 4

Equipment

  • dutch oven

Ingredients  

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 yellow onions diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ tsp ginger root finely minced
  • 2 ½ tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric ground
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes diced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ cups red lentils
  • 2 cups spinach roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsps lemon juiced
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado diced
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions 

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cumin and turmeric. Stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and stir again.
  • Add the vegetable stock and lentils. Lower heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper.
  • Top with cilantro avocado and red pepper flakes for serving.

Notes

  • Swap ground turmeric with fresh turmeric root for even more anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Swap fresh ginger root with 1/8 tsp ground ginger, though this will eliminate some of the nutrition found in fresh ginger.
  • Omit the red pepper flakes and use regular diced tomatoes for a less spicy result.

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 1155mg, Potassium: 1301mg, Fiber: 28g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 2669IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 158mg, Iron: 8mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

About the Author

Jen Hansard

I went from exhausted mama to running across the Grand Canyon, riding & hiking to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America with my kids. How? I fell in love with the smoothies and plant-based meals you can find on my blog.

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Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup was really flavorful. My 18 month old really seemed to enjoy it as well.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband loved this soup. He was suspicious about the avocado but loved it when he tasted it.

  3. 5 stars
    Yum this one was so easy and delicious and made with staple ingredients I usually have in the house. This one will be going on my fall/winter recipe rotation.

  4. 5 stars
    Super easy, so many healthy ingredients. Used a whole tub of baby spinach, it cooks down . Love the combination of lentils and greens!

  5. 5 stars
    My husband and I really enjoyed this soup. I have tried to make these recipes just as written for this challenge. I plan to make this one again and really I wouldn’t change a thing.

  6. 5 stars
    My family enjoyed this soup and we will be making it regularly. In preparing the soup I would have preferred weights or other more specific measurements in the recipe (large can of tomatoes or small can? fist-sized potatoes or golf ball-sized potatoes?). I ran out of red lentils and substituted some strange sprouted black lentils, and I doubled the amount of spinach. I also used a large can of diced tomatoes, and didn’t have diced so I used crushed. I didn’t have avocado or cilantro, but reading previous comments make me excited to try this soup again when I have those around!

    1. Thank you for the feedback Lorraine – we try to keep the challenge directions and shopping lists as simple as possible, but I understand that more details can often be helpful. Awesome job improvising – it sounds like you’re rawkin’ this challenge!

    2. Hi Loraine,
      The can of diced tomatoes was intended to be the smaller, 14.5oz can. Fortunately, adding extra tomatoes isn’t going to ruin your recipe. We always encourage the recipe maker to make any adjustments to the ingredients and/or recipe as needed or desired.
      For the potato soup, I’d go more with a fist-sized potato or about 1 cup of chopped up potatoes per recommended potato. So, if you’re making a recipe that suggests 4 potatoes, use about 4 cups of potatoes. Doesn’t have to be exact, but close. 🙂 Hope this helps

  7. 5 stars
    We really liked this soup. The lemon juice gave a nice flavor. I don’t care for cooked spinach but I didn’t taste it in this soup so it’s a great way to sneak it into a meal.

  8. 4 stars
    I really liked adding the spinach to this soup. It gave it fresh color and flavor. Also liked the fresh avocado on top! Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Red Lentils really are an unsung hero and the flavors were spectacular. This is a fantastic soup. Will definitely make all winter.

  10. 5 stars
    I loved the soup. I cut the broth in half to create a heartier meal.
    I added 2 tablespoons of Tamari.
    The spinach was fresh from the garden; I love that!!
    But honestly, this is going to be even better tomorrow!

  11. 5 stars
    Great tasting soup! I had most of the ingredients in my pantry. I will be making this most often.

  12. 5 stars
    Loved this soup, Great flavors and consistency. I will make this again. Lentils are high in iron and since I’m vegetarian it great to have a yummy recipe with lots of iron.

  13. Love this soup! Will definitely be making it again. Hearty and with just the right amount of kick.