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Lentil soup close up in a black pot

Best Ever Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 16 reviews

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 55
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Vegetarian Lentil Soup is the BEST EVER! It is ultra hearty and loaded with tender veggies, spices, tomatoes and kale and is only 300 calories per serving!



2 teaspoons coriander seeds *see ingredient note

1 teaspoon cumin seeds *see ingredient note

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large sweet onions, diced

2 cups diced peeled carrot

1 cup diced peeled parsnip or turnip

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 cups vegetable broth

2 cups dry brown lentils (1 pound)

14 ounces canned diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

3 cups chopped kale

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

4 1/2 teaspoons (or 1 1/2 tablespoons) lemon juice, or to taste

Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt for serving, optional


  1. Place coriander and cumin in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, swirling the skillet often until the seeds are fragrant and starting to pop and lightly smoke, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove them from the heat and transfer them to a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Coarsely grind them.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and parsnips (or turnip) and cook, stirring often until the onion is starting to brown, about 10 to 13 minutes. Add in garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the ground cumin and coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, turmeric and pepper and stir to coat the onion mixture with the spices. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds to bloom the spices.
  3. Add broth and lentils and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils are almost soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in diced tomatoes, kale and salt. Increase heat to regain the simmer then reduce it to continue simmering. Cook until the lentils are soft and breaking down and the kale is tender, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Serve with yogurt if desired.


Coriander and Cumin Seeds

Buy whole coriander and cumin seeds in the bulk spice section of health food stores or in the spice section of large supermarkets.  To save time, you can skip toasting and grinding and substitute purchased ground cumin and coriander instead. Simply add them into the onion mixture with the other spices in step 2.

To Prepare With Soaked Lentils

Place the lentils in a large bowl and cover generously with cold tap water. Let soak overnight. Drain and rinse the lentils. Prepare as directed but reduce the broth to 6 cups. Cook for only 7 minutes in step 3 before proceeding with step 4. 

To Reheat

Warm the soup up in the microwave on high power, stirring once or twice. It will take three to four minutes per bowl becasue it is so thick!

On the stovetop, stir over medium heat until steaming hot. You may need to add additional water or broth to thin it, as it becomes thicker in the fridge.

To Freeze

Freeze in one serving containers for up to three months. To thaw and heat, remove the soup from the container by inverting and running warm water over the storage container. Place the soup in a large pyrex bowl or measuring cup. Microwave for six minutes on high. Break apart any chunks and then microwave for two minutes longer or until steaming hot.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 301
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50 g
  • Fiber: 23 g
  • Protein: 14 g
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