This thick and nutritious Red Lentil Soup is truly a whole meal by itself.  It’s  made with red lentils (red split lentils), fresh vegetables, canned tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It’s a quick and easy Red Lentil Soup recipe that your whole family will love!

bowl of red lentil soup

I love quick and easy soup recipes like this one! You’ll want to serve this easy lentil soup with a green garden salad and warm crusty bread for a delicious vegetarian meal that comes together in about 30 minutes. 

red lentil soup ingredients

Years ago my parents took a trip to Italy, and while they were there, they happened upon a quaint little restaurant that served a deliciously humble soup similar to this lentil soup. When they got back home, my mom tried to recreate the soup they had at that little Italian restaurant, and this is her riff on things. It’s been one of my family’s favorite soup recipes that we’ve made over the years.

Red Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Celery (with leaves – the leaves add so much flavor to soups)
  • Carrot
  • Garlic
  • Canned chopped tomatoes with juice
  • Red lentils (red split lentils) 
  • Chicken broth
  • Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
  • Unsalted butter

Variations

If you want to make this soup vegan, just use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, a good vegan butter instead of butter and omit the Parmesan cheese altogether.

How to Make Lentil Soup

This soup is so quick and easy to make, you can almost commit it to memory (especially if you make it often which I’m certain you will).

  1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute, stirring frequently until the onions are golden in color.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until garlic softens. 
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and juice and cook for another 7-9 minutes or until some of the liquid in the tomatoes evaporates.
  4. Add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a very slow and steady simmer. Place lid on pot and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  5. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (stick blender) blend 1/2 of the soup.
  6. Stir in the butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and croutons.

Note: If soup is too thick for your liking, you can add a little water or more broth to thin it out a bit to desired consistency.

What are Red Lentils

Red lentils are also known as “masoor dal” are often found in Indian dishes. Unlike other types of lentils (green, brown, black), they cook quickly and tend to lose their shape and turn a bit mushy when cooked down. Red split lentils are great to use for thickening soups and stews. And they’re a good source of fiber and plant-based protein making them excellent for vegetarians and vegans alike.

Cooking Red Lentils

The usual ratio for cooking red lentils is 1 cup of red lentils to 3 cups of water or broth.  The lentils will expand as they cook, so you want to make sure you’re using a large enough pot that will allow for this. They cook in 15-20 minutes and don’t require pre-soaking.

bowl of easy lentil soup

Benefits of Eating Lentils

In a nutshell, lentils have a lot of nutritional value to offer.  They’re high in protein, low in fat, and they’re a good source of iron, fiber, folic acid and magnesium.  Lentils are also rich with polyphenols, which are compounds found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, dark chocolate, wine and tea, and they act like antioxidants neutralizing free radicals and help to reduce inflammation which is linked to chronic disease. And compared to other legumes, lentils come in second to soybeans in protein. When you consume lentils with whole grains, such as brown rice, lentils can provide the same quality of protein as meat. Just 1/2 cup of cooked lentils provides about 12 grams of protein.  (1) (2)

bowl of lentil vegetable soup

Looking for more lentil soup recipes to make?

Want more ideas? Check out all my healthy soup recipes.

bowl of red lentil soup
Yield: 6 servings

Red Lentil Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

This thick and nutritious Red Lentil Soup is truly a whole meal by itself.  It's  made with red lentils (also called red split lentils), fresh vegetables, canned tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It's a quick and easy Red Lentil Soup recipe that your whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery (with leaves), finely chopped 
  • 1/2cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed under cold water
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3-4 tablespoons  unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute, stirring frequently until the onions are golden in color.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until garlic softens. 
  3. Pour in the tomatoes and juice and cook for another 7-9 minutes or until some of the liquid in the tomatoes evaporates.
  4. Add lentils and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a very slow and steady simmer. Place lid on pot and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft.
  5. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (stick blender) blend 1/2 of the soup.
  6. Stir in the butter and grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and croutons (or warm crusty bread).

Notes

If soup is too thick for your liking, you can add a little water or more broth to thin it out for desired consistency.

If you want to make this soup vegan, just use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, a good vegan butter instead of butter and omit the Parmesan cheese altogether.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 1274mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 11g

theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.