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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.

Whether you prefer a creamy, pureed soup like my Vegan Tomato Soup or something with hearty spoonfuls of flavor like this Wild Rice Soup, you can fill up on a good bowl of deliciousness.

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

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:

Sautéing onion and celery in a pot

Step 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.

a persons hand adding garlic and ginger to sautéing onion and celery

Step 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.

fire roasted tomatoes in a pot

Step 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.

pouring vegetable stock into a pot with red lentils

Step 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!).

Adding fresh spinach into a pot of soup

Step 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!

4.77 from 249 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 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Healing
Serves: 4


  • dutch oven


  • 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
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  • 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.


  • 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.


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!

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  1. 5 stars
    Very yummy. Liked all the different flavors and both lemon and avocado are a must. Is a little bit more like a stew, quite thick but I liked it that way as well (husband liked it too). Another keeper…

    1. I’m a fan of thicker soups too, Daria. This one definitely checks that box!

    2. 5 stars
      Ok had to add on a little comment here. Call me crazy, but I just ate this cold and it was still amazing. Since it is a little thicker it didn’t feel like a soup but more like a bowl and then adding the avocado and cilantro fresh was just sooo good. Husband said the hot version is still his favorite but I do really like the cold option as an alternative as well (eating up the leftovers or as a packed lunch).

  2. 5 stars

    1. Love to hear that this one didn’t last long in your house, Doris!

  3. 5 stars
    I really liked this recipe, great flavours and very filling. First time using red lentils.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! I’ve been thinking it was time for some yummy lentil soup and this one really fits the bill!

  5. 5 stars
    This was a tasty soup and easy to make. I added extra celery which I love. The only thing I’d change next time is omitting the lemon.

  6. 5 stars
    This soup is very tasty. Used home made beef broth and only had whole tomatoes. I don’t usually make lentil soup but this really took no time at all – make it for my supper after work.

  7. 5 stars
    We had this soup for dinner today and I’ll definitely make it again. My family gave it a unanimous 5 stars!

  8. 4 stars
    I like all the textures and flavor combos in this soup. Very tasty! I served with a side of corn chips. Next time I will increase the amount of lentils to up the protein and hope I won’t feel hungry again so soon afterwards.

  9. 5 stars
    This soup turned out great. I had some hot garlic I bought at the farmers market and used that. My husband couldn’t get enough of this one so there is none for the freezer, yet.

  10. 5 stars
    Very tasty! I added lots more heat, another can of tomatoes and more broth and it’s delicious! Great way to get in protein with my favorite lentils.

  11. 5 stars
    I made my own broth and also doubled the soup recipe. I loved the fragrance from the vegetable, sautéing and lentils are one of my favorite foods. I usually don’t use ginger so much in cooking but loved the taste of this soup. Topping the soup with avocado, cilantro and pepper flakes elevated soup to the next level. Soup was also easy to make. Great soup with just the right amount of spiciness.

    1. Hi Janie! Love that you made your own broth, I try to do that when I have the time too!

    1. Hi Sukanta! You used three of my favorite words, this hearty soup checks all three boxes!

  12. 4 stars
    The variety of veggies in this soup was great. However, a little thick for me. I will add more vegetable broth next time I make it.

    1. Hi R! Def add more veggie broth next time if you’re looking for a thinner soup.