Fast-Fixing Hearty Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe for Busy Cooks

Make this vegan lentil soup for a budget-friendly, hearty meal. Your omnivore friends won’t even notice it’s meatless. (It’s ready in about an hour!)

These vegan sweet potato muffins are another great recipe to add to your repertoire.

vegan lentil soup in a white bowl.

We keep the pantry stocked with lentils—they are inexpensive, nutritious, store well for long periods of time, and make a nice alternative to meat once in a while! You’ll be happy to know that lentils are a fantastic source of dietary fiber, iron, and protein.

The Handcrafted Pantry

Ready to DIY your pantry with more wholesome ingredients? Check out my ebook, The Handcrafted Pantry! Filled with delicious recipes for some of your favorite condiments, snacks, and toppings, it’s the guide you need to start skipping packaged products and embrace homemade.

Homemade Vegan Lentil Soup

Lentils are legumes, different from common types of beans but used similarly for cooking. Lentils are much smaller than beans and shaped like a small, round disk, about an 1/8″ in diameter. Like beans, lentils need to be cooked, but the cooking time required is substantially less than most beans. This makes lentils a great option for budget meals when you haven’t had the forethought to soak beans ahead of time.

fresh ingredients for homemade lentil soup.


Onion and garlic — These two bring so much flavor to any savory dish and must not be missed.

Carrots — Slice the carrots into rounds or cut them smaller if you prefer. Either way is fine.

Lentils — A powerhouse vegan protein! They are really nutritious as well as affordable, and don’t require the long soaking time of dried beans.

Vegetable broth — If you aren’t serving this to vegans, feel free to use whatever you have on hand, such as chicken broth.

Spinach — I love spinach because it wilts quickly. If you chop it up first even picky eaters will eat it up.

Seasoning — Cumin and coriander are my go-tos here. Feel free to adjust their amounts or try smoked paprika or more black pepper.

process of making lentil soup, including sauteing onions, adding carrots, adding dry lentils, adding broth.

How to Make Lentil Soup

Sauté your aromatics in a large pot.

Next up, add the lentils with broth and spices and cook until the lentils are tender,

Finally, stir in the spinach and lemon juice and heat to wilt.

spoon of lemon juice above a pot of lentil stew

Serving Vegan Lentil Soup

Enjoy this hearty one-pot meal year round with bread fresh out of the oven. (If you prefer a meatier lentil stew, try Kris’s sausage lentil soup recipe.) Happy bellies, all around.


What sort of pot should I use?

I adore using cast iron when I’m making hearty meals like this. It retains the heat well while you are simmering the lentils, and will also usually have a lid so you can set it on super low to simmer if your guests are a bit late, or you are feeding your family in split shifts.

Are there any substitutions I can make?

Feel free to select a different color lentil – just do a bite test to make sure it has cooked through as some have different cook times.

No spinach? Try kale or other greens. Just chop them up fairly small since kale needs to really soften.

lentil soup in a cast iron Dutch oven, from above.

Storing Vegan Lentil Stew

This vegan lentil soup recipe purposely yields a large batch so that you can store leftovers in an airtight container and freeze—you’ll have an entire lunch or dinner ready for another day! If you’re not sticking to a vegan diet, try topping the soup with hard boiled eggs for a little extra protein.

vegan lentil soup in a white bowl.

★ Did you make this vegan lentil soup recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

vegan lentil soup in a white bowl.

Vegan Lentil Soup Recipe

Make this vegan lentil stew for a budget-friendly, hearty meal. Your omnivore friends won't even notice it's meatless. (It's ready in about an hour!)
4.43 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Amy Godiwalla


  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion diced
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic minced
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (preferably organic or homemade)
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups organic baby spinach finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for four to six minutes or until soft and glossy. Add the carrots and continue sautéing for another four to five minutes. Add the garlic and stir continuously for 30 seconds to prevent burning.
    2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups yellow onion, 1 cup carrots, 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
  • Stir in the lentils, broth, cumin, coriander, salt (if using), and pepper. Mix well and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are soft and fully cooked.
    2 cups lentils, 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth, 1½ teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
  • Add the spinach and lemon juice and stir. Cook for an additional two minutes or until the spinach is tender. For a spicier, more flavorful version of this vegan lentil stew, add freshly diced jalapeño peppers and minced cilantro. Serve!
    2 cups organic baby spinach, 2 tablespoon lemon juice


  • To serve leftovers, add a small amount of water, mix well, reheat, and serve.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 611mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 23g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4535IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 6mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!
Originally published in March 2017; this post has been updated.

Click to save or share!

About the author: Amy Godiwalla is co-author of the What a Good Eater! cookbook, available on Amazon. She writes for the What a Good Eater! food blog and versions of her work have appeared elsewhere online.

3 comments… add one
  • Jai Feb 4, 2023 @ 18:30

    Nice recipe, though more of a stew than a soup. I added an extra 2 cups of liquid near the end and barely had any broth. Still, it was tasty and easy. Good for an inexpensive dinner.

    • AttainableSustainable Feb 9, 2023 @ 6:21

      Whatever you want to call it, I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 18:41

    So delicious. I’m definitely going to make this again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating