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As a previous university dietitian, I spent a good chunk of my day talking to students about kitchen essentials. Topics include must-have appliances, pantry staples, and easy, healthy recipes that they can whip up without using google. It was always amazing to me how many students weren’t comfortable in the kitchen! Since I practically grew up with a wooden spoon in my mouth, I sometimes forget that often a barrier to eating healthy is not having a clue on what foods to make.
This is one of those basic recipes that you don’t really need a recipe for. Make it a handful of times, and it’s committed to memory.
I call this my perfect lentil soup. Perfect in the sense that it takes limited skills in the kitchen, is incredibly flavorful, healthy and did I mention- dirt cheap. While it completes the checklist for a starving student, it also fits my checklist of must-have meals on a monthly basis.
I’ve made this soup so many times, I could make it in my sleep. Start with a simple saute of onion, carrot and celery. Followed by fire-roasted tomatoes, cooked lentils, spices, and savory broth. I was shocked that I hadn’t yet included it on my blog so last weekend I measured each spice and ingredient so you too could enjoy the perfect lentil soup.
As vegetarians, I don’t ever worry about BL’s and my protein intake because I know we are getting enough, thanks in part to my reliance on the mighty lentil. (You know it wouldn’t be a proper DK post if I didn’t declare my love for lentils at least once.)
The little legume packs 18g of protein plus 16g of fiber all for 1 cup. I bring this point up so often because I think it’s important to note that legumes deliver quite the nutrition punch; it’s also what gives this soup amazing staying power. Since protein is the most satiating (read: fuller, longer) macronutrient, adding it to major meals allows you to feel satisfied longer. It also prevents mid-afternoon snack attacks.
Great soup includes a balance of three things: aromatics, salty/umami depth and acid. You can have a good soup with just two of those things, but to really take it to the next level– most soups are missing the addition of some kind of acid. Something that helps brighten the salty broth and rich caramelized vegetables.
It’s why you see that I typically add in a splash of vinegar, lemon or lime juice to most of my soup recipes. Just enough to cut through any richness; you don’t want to actually taste the vinegar.
I also like blending some of the lentil soup to give it more body and texture — without any heavy cream or butter. Since we are using creamy potatoes in this recipe, this soup becomes even more hearty when some of it is pureed and then added back into the pot.
Lastly, fresh herbs make a huge difference in the freshness of soup. Especially when you are eating this one for a few meals at a time. I love a generous handful of parsley in this, stirred in right at the end.
This vegan lentil soup is perfect on it’s own or paired with a salad; however, if you have a few more moments of time, consider making a loaf of my no-knead bread alongside. Just like the soup, you don’t need to be a baker to have perfect bread. The no-knead approach is completely foolproof–just ask my college students.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!Print
The best lentil soup! This vegan lentil soup is one of our favorite healthy recipes. Perfect for anyone looking to add more plant-based protein and fiber into their diet.
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