Favorite Lentil Soup: One-Pot, Vegan, Completely Delicious
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
As this is the third time this lentil soup has made an appearance here, I’ll keep this brief: To make it, throw everything into a pot and simmer it for one hour. This soup has a nice, vinegary bite and gets better by the day. Soup + bread: what more do we need?
PS: Addictive Black Lentils with Spinach and LabnehPrint
One-Pot, Vegan, Completely Delicious Lentil Soup
- Total Time: 1 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 3 quarts
This is a recipe from my vegan cousin Christine — everyone in our family has been making it for years.
A few notes:
- Some people find 1/2 cup vinegar to be too much, but I find it to be just right. I use white balsamic vinegar (Colavita is my favorite). If you are using a different vinegar — white balsamic is on the sweet side — you may want to start with 1/4 cup vinegar and add more to taste by the tablespoon at the end.
- Crushed tomatoes: I love the Pomi brand, which has a nice, pure flavor, but use any crushed tomatoes you can find, preferably ones without any additional seasonings.
- On day two, much of the liquid will have been absorbed by the lentils and veggies. Just add a little more water to the pot as you reheat and adjust the seasoning as necessary — a pinch more salt usually does the trick.
- This recipe doubles well. Recently, when I made a double batch, I added 2 quarts of diced onions, 1 quart of diced carrots, 1 quart of diced celery, and a whole head of minced garlic, which I puréed in the food processor for ease.
- 1 1/4 cups French green lentils
- 12 oz crushed tomatoes — I like Pomi brand finely chopped tomatoes (1 1/2 cups), see notes above
- 2 large onions, chopped (about a quart of diced onions)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup white balsamic vinegar, see notes above
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped, or if you are feeling lazy, a few whole springs
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced (1 to 2 cups)
- 3 celery stalks, diced (1 to 2 cups)
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Throw all ingredients together in a pot. Add 1½ qts. plus one cup of water (seven cups total) and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour uncovered. Taste, adjust with more salt — I always add another teaspoon of kosher salt, sometimes more. Extract the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, if using, and discard. Serve with bread and lots of fresh cracked pepper.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American/French
Keywords: one-pot, lentil, vegan, soup, vegetarian, pantry
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
104 Comments on “Favorite Lentil Soup: One-Pot, Vegan, Completely Delicious”
I am going to make the vegan lentil soup today. I am not a fan of thyme. Is there another herb I can substitute? I am nervous that I am going to screw this up. Wish I could watch you cooking it like I have so many times before in Hillsdale. Will let you know how it turns out. Wish me luck!
Hi Elva!! You can’t screw it up! I promise 🙂 I would maybe just omit the thyme altogether. You could finish it with some freshly chopped parsley or chives, but honestly, I wouldn’t run out to the store if you don’t have either of them.
So nice to hear from you!! Miss our mornings at the Hillsdale General Store Home Chef with you and Cheryl. Sending you love. And good luck!
So happy that i decided to make a double batch of this soup. We had it with the quinoa and flax varation of the peasant bread. Both were super delicious. The bread is better than cake. Regarding the soup, the only change i made was to put a little less vinegar, but it really punched up the flavor enormously. P.S. i purchased the 1 quart containers you recommended. Not only do you have great recipes but great kitchen advice.
Wonderful to hear this, Annier! And I totally understand reducing the vinegar here — it is a lot — but I’m glad you enjoyed its flavor. And it’s so nice to hear you like the quinoa-flax bread as well. Thanks so much for writing, and thank you for your kind words 🙂
I doubled this and made it in the instant pot because I couldn’t be home. I set it for 30 mins and lentils were cooked nicely. I used 3/4 cup white wine vinegar and added a little sugar. Tasted delish!
Bates yay! So nice to hear this! I always wonder how lentils will turn out in the instant pot. Thanks for sharing. I’m making IP mashed potato and cauliflower today … fingers crossed. xo
I’ve been wanting to make this soup for a while and finally got round to it, it is utterly delicious, even my husband (very fussy with all things vegetable)!!! Loved it. Thank you so much for your blog and recipes they always turn out well, I have your book too, it’s amazing, when can we expect Bread Toast Crumbs 2 !!
Awww Jennie, so nice to hear all of this 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing. Truly means a lot. No BTC 2 is in the works at the moment, but I do keep thinking about wanting to write another book … just need to get my act together!
Alexandra, I recently discovered your site–lucky me. Yesterday we were dealing with some anxieties, and we needed a dinner that was both very nourishing and very delicious. I decided to try three recipes from your list of 13 favorites: this excellent lentil soup, your mother’s peasant bread, and the simple kale salad with your shallot dressing. Win, win, win. Truly delicious, all three. Everybody felt better. Thank you, and I’ll definitely be cooking more from your beautiful website!
Oh, Launa! So nice to hear all of this 🙂 🙂 🙂 You made my favorites, especially this time of year. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Hope you find other recipes you love!
I’d been thinking of making this dish for weeks and I finally did it ! I skipped the herbs cause I was too lazy to go to the store. This recipe was fantastic. 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar was enough for me. I also added zucchini. YUM!
Wonderful to hear this, Luciana! Thanks so much for writing. Zucchini sounds lovely!
Can I make this in a crock pot?
Hi Donna! I worry the lentils will get overcooked. They tend to turn to mush in a crock pot in my experience.
Ok thank you, good point.
Great soup recipe! Thanks Ali! ❤️❤️
Yay! Hi Martha. Sending love to the Sutro Fam! Loved the card 💕💕💕💕
I made this and it’s fantastic. The vinegar truly makes this soup shine. I used Trader Joe’s white balsamic and it was excellent. This is the first time I’ve made soup without sautéing the mirepoix first and it was a revelation. So quick and easy and the veggies were cooked to perfection. I had it with some local chicken sausages on the side, your mother’s peasant bread, and a simple salad. Such a delicious comforting meal. And I made the canal house chicken and rice last night which was also comforting—like putting on a warm cozy sweater in winter. I have recently hit my covid cooking fatigue and along with two little kids I’m in a season of meals that need to be simple and tasty (and healthy…is it possible?!). It is possible! Your recipes have been getting me out of my cooking funk and are absolutely delicious. Thank you for the time you spend here!
Oh, Christina! It is so nice to hear all of this. “This is the first time I’ve made soup without sautéing the mirepoix first and it was a revelation.” Isn’t it? So many soup recipes (including ones I post!) call for sautéing the veg first, and it’s just not always necessary. So glad you like the chicken and rice, too. That’s a favorite here. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to write.
This soup is fabulous. I LOVE the tanginess from the balsamic vinegar. I’ve made it several times for my husband and I we both adore it!!
So great to hear this 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s one of my faves, too.
Another great recipe. Lentils seem to get overlooked. Cooked exactly to the recipe and it was perfect.
Wonderful to hear this, Sherry! This is a favorite of mine 🙂
Has anyone tried canning this soup, for gifts?
I have not, Sherry, but I think it would do very well canned… if you have experience canning, go for it!
Hi there sweetheart. Did you used to use a different vinegar in this dish? I made it before and don’t remember it being white balsamic??
Hi Laurie! I think the original recipe called for red wine vinegar, which I’ve used and I’ve also used sherry vinegar. White balsamic is what I use most often for other things, so that’s what I use here most often, but don’t run out and get it! Use what you have 🙂 🙂 🙂 xoxo
I went and bought sherry vinegar cause I had to go to the “fancy” store to get green lentils! Making it tonight! How are you doing?
Oh yay! So nice to hear this, Laurie. Those green lentils are worth the trip 🙂 🙂 🙂 All is well here… fall has been beautiful up here, kids are busy, life is good! Hope you are well, too. xoxo
Hi Alexandra, I want to make this, but I am the only one, can I cut in half successfully. I love your recipes. Thanks
Yes, absolutely! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 🙂 🙂
Alexandra I made the half recipe today, I had some frozen kale from my garden and added that. It was delicious, I followed the recipe as written it was delicious, your recipes never disappoint. Thank you.
So wonderful to hear this, Norma! Love the idea of adding kale here… I love greens in soup. Thank you for writing and thank you for your kind words 🙂 🙂 🙂
So delicious, healthy, and cheap! I sautéed the onions, garlic and carrots first, and left out the celery, because I didn’t want to make a trip to the store. Also used chicken stock instead of water, and had to sub a bit of red lentil when I ran short on green lentils. All to say this seems like a very adaptable recipe. I used 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, but will use slightly less next time. And there will definitely be a next time!
Great to hear, Erin! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes 🙂 🙂 🙂
Delicious recipe!! I know this is a vegan recipe….but …I substituted about 4 C out of the 7 C of water with my chicken stock I make from scratch. Added a rind of pecorino cheese, and then when it was all cooked , I added handfuls of fresh spinach sautéed with garlic. Sometimes I’ve added Swiss chard sauted with garlic too instead of spinach. Very adaptable recipe!
That all sounds amazing, Doreen! Thanks for writing 🙂
I tried this last night and loved it. I especially loved the combination of the vinegar, red pepper flakes and carrots. I was surprised! 🙂. Can’t wait to make it again.
Great to hear, Cassie 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s one of my faves, too.
I loved everything about this except the watery broth. Maybe if it had sat around longer, it would have been different. I just had to add a spoonful of Better than Bouillon (veggie stock) and it really was kicked up a notch. Thanks for this very enjoyable recipe!
You have the best recipes and the best instructions!
1. Throw all ingredients together in a pot.
The first time I read the recipe, I thought: where are the rest of the steps?! But I was pleasantly surprised to find they were all there in #1!
Fantastic recipe, as always! Thank you for your work and for making delicious, healthy things that aren’t complicated.
Lentil soup is my favorite. I don’t adhere to vegetarian.. I use GOOD homemade chicken stock. My other additions are, a cup of apple cider and a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke.
Most recipes call for some kind of smoked meat. I don’t eat them so I thought the addition of liquid smoke would do the trick. It does! Both my additions would work in your recipe too. Thanks for a great site. My best, Nancy
Love the sound of all of the ideas, Nancy! Thanks so much for sharing. I was just speaking to a woman who adds liquid smoke to her sautéed greens. I’m intrigued!
This is a complex and wonderful flavor from such a simple recipe – I loved it! And it’s so thick that I suspect it could serve as the vegan base for a shepherd’s pie, with a mashed potato topping. Thanks, Ali!
Absolutely you could! Love this idea. I find it really thickens up on days 2 and 3, so you may need to thin with water before serving.