Looking for a quick and easy vegan red lentil soup? This is full of healthy veggies and delicious ingredients.

It’s a freezer-friendly recipe, perfect for batch/bulk cooking. You will love the hearty flavors and satisfying texture of this delicious soup.

Vegan Red Lentil Soup served in two white bowls with fresh bread

Looking for more vegan soup recipes? Try my favorite quick and easy cherry tomato soup or this vegan potato kale soup.

Why you’ll love this vegan red lentil soup 

Here’s why you need to whip up a batch of this soup:

  • Super healthy: Lentils are surprisingly low in calories and sodium but rich in nutrients, fiber (soluble + non-soluble), and protein, according to Harvard School Of Public Health. Eating a serving of lentils every day can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  
  • No pre-soaking: Unlike other lentils, the red split lentils don’t require a pre-soak. This means you can get going with the soup straight away.
  • Quick to cook: Red lentils cook in minutes.
  • Budget-friendly: The ingredients are pretty low-cost ingredients.
  • Batchcooking: You can easily double up or triple this recipe.

There is something so wonderful about a hearty bowl of vegan red lentil soup this time of year.  It looks so inviting, tastes amazing, and is packed full of needed nutrients, fiber, and protein.  Perfect for any season really, but absolutely essential for this time of year.  

The end of February is usually the time of year when New Englanders begin to wonder if living in the northeast is such an excellent idea after all, the snow is still lingering and the nights are cold.  Enough already, where is spring?  Nothing better than a red lentil soup to brighten the day and warm the frozen limbs.  

When I make this soup, I usually make a whole bunch and store leftovers in the freezer.  This soup freezes so well, and when I don’t have time to cook, I take a bag out of the freezer and have a wonderful hardy meal in no time.  Best of all, this soup puts a spring in your step and gives extra energy for the day.  Yes, having a few portions of this red lentil soup in your freezer makes life easier.  

Ingredients and substitution notes 

Here’s what to gather to make your vegan red lentil soup:

  • Olive oil: Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil for better flavor. You can also use avocado oil.
  • Onion: Use yellow or white onion. 
  • Garlic clove: I recommend fresh and not powdered in this recipe. 
  • Leek: Clean the leek thoroughly, as it often traps dirt between its layers. 
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs or dried thyme leaves can be used.
  • Cayenne: Cayenne adds flavor; you could leave this out if you don’t like it!
  • Carrot: I love the earthiness of carrots. Parsnip is a great alternative.
  • Celery stalk: Finely chop celery stalks to add a savory note and texture to the soup. 
  • Vegetable broth: I prefer a low-sodium vegetable broth to control the saltiness of the soup.
  • Whole red lentils: Rinse lentils thoroughly to get rid of any debris before adding to the soup.
  • Can crushed tomatoes: Use high-quality canned crushed tomatoes without added seasoning for a rich tomato base.
  • Potato: It adds a nice texture and thickness to the soup.
  • Better-Than-Bouillon (vegetable base) + salt: Better-Than-Bouillon provides concentrated vegetable flavor; adjust salt accordingly.
  • Bay leaf: Adding a bay leaf adds next-level flavor; remove it before serving.

Vegan Red Lentil Soup recipe variations and add-ins

Here are few ways you can change up this base recipe:

  • Mediterranean style: Add chopped spinach or kale towards the end of cooking for added nutrition and vibrant color. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.
  • Smoky: Add a touch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder for a smoky flavor profile. You could add diced smoked tofu extra texture and protein. Serve with a wedge of lime. 
  • Italian-inspired: Stir in chopped fresh basil, oregano, and a vegan Parmesan rind while simmering. 
  • Chunky vegetable: Increase the quantity of carrots, celery, and potatoes for a heartier, chunkier soup. Add diced zucchini, bell peppers, or butternut squash for other veggies. 
  • Coconut: Replace some vegetable broth with coconut milk for a creamy and indulgent soup. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Top tips for making vegan red lentil soup

This is honestly such a simple vegan red lentil soup. Here’s how to get the best out of this recipe:

  • Thoroughly rinse lentils: Before using red lentils in your soup, rinse them under cold water to remove any debris. Lentils (like rice) can hold a lot of impurities.
  • Don’t overcook vegetables: Be mindful not to overcook the vegetables, especially the potatoes. They should be tender but still have a slight bite for texture.
  • Adjust consistency: Red lentil soup thickens as it cooks and sits. If it becomes too thick, add more vegetable broth or water.
  • Let flavors develop: Allow the soup to simmer gently to allow the flavors to meld together. This also gives the lentils and vegetables time to cook thoroughly and become tender.
Vegan Red Lentil Soup served in a white bowl

Make ahead instructions and storage

Can you make this vegan red lentil soup ahead of time? 


Fully cook the soup and cool it completely at room temperature before transferring it to airtight containers. This prevents condensation and helps maintain the soup’s freshness.

How to Refrigerate or Freeze Vegan Red Lentil Soup:

Once cooled, refrigerate the soup in airtight containers for up to 3-4 days. Alternatively, if you plan to store it for longer, transfer it to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

To Reheat and Serve:

When ready to serve refrigerated soup, simply reheat it gently in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir occasionally until heated through.

For frozen soup, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Once thawed, reheat on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally until thoroughly heated.

As the soup reheats, you may need to adjust the consistency by adding a splash of water or broth if it has thickened too much. 


Use airtight containers or resealable freezer bags to store the soup, ensuring they are tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn or absorption of odors.

Consider portioning the soup into smaller containers before freezing. This allows you to thaw only the amount you need without having to defrost the entire batch.

Never place hot soup directly in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow it to cool to room temperature first to avoid temperature fluctuations that could affect food safety.

Vegan Red Lentil Soup Serving Suggestions 

Here is what I love to serve my soup with:

  • Crusty bread or rolls: Serve your red lentil soup with a side of warm crusty artisan bread or these easy bread rolls (for burgers + dinner). 
  • Grilled vegan cheese sandwiches: The combination of melted cheese and crispy bread complements the soup perfectly.
  • Fresh salad: Balance the heartiness of the soup with a light and refreshing salad. Try it with my quick and easy kale salad or any simple green salad with mixed greens.
  • Avocado toast: Top slices of toasted bread with mashed avocado, a sprinkle of salt, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
  • Herbs and garnishes: Sprinkle freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, cilantro, or chives over the soup.
  • Toasted nuts or seeds: Garnish your soup with a handful of toasted nuts or seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or slivered almonds for added crunch and texture.
  • Croutons: Here’s an easy recipe for my vegan garlic croutons – perfect with this soup.


Here are the top takeaways from this recipe post:

Can I use other types of lentils for this soup?

Yes, you can experiment with other varieties such as green, yellow, or brown lentils. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary, so adjust accordingly.

Is this soup suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Yes, this red lentil soup recipe is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. It’s made with vegetable broth and does not contain any animal products.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Absolutely! Red lentil soup can be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Adjust cooking times and liquid amounts according to the specific instructions of your appliance.

How can I make the soup gluten-free?

This red lentil soup recipe is naturally gluten-free. However, Better-than-bouillon is not gluten-free. Use a gluten-free alternative.

Can I freeze leftover soup?

Yes, you can freeze leftover red lentil soup for future meals. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How can I adjust the thickness of the soup?

If the soup is too thick for your liking, mix in a little vegetable broth or water until you reach your desired consistency. If the soup is too thin, simmer it uncovered until it thickens to your preference.

Is red lentil soup healthy?

Yes, red lentil soup is nutritious and packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a wholesome meal option that can be part of a balanced diet.

Watch this Vegan Red Lentil Soup recipe video:

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Vegan Red Lentil Soup

Vegan Red Lentil Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Chef Ani
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 34 Servings 1x


There is something so wonderful about a hearty bowl of vegan red lentil soup this time of year.  It looks so inviting, tastes amazing, and is packed full of needed nutrients, fiber, and protein.  Perfect for any season really, but absolutely essential for this time of year. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup leek, finely sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • pinch of cayenne 
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup whole red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Better-Than-Bouillon (vegetable base)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)


  1. Sauté onion in the olive oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the minced garlic and leek. Cook another minute.
  3. Next add the chopped carrot celery, thyme, and cayenne. Sauté for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add broth, lentils, crushed tomatoes, potatoes, Better-Than-Bouillon, salt, and bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir occasionally.
  7. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Super Easy Red Lentil Soup