A bowl of vegan, one-pot lentil soup.

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 Labneh

A pot of one-bowl vegan lentil soup.
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A bowl of one-pot vegan lentil soup.

One-Pot, Vegan, Completely Delicious Lentil Soup

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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


  1. 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