With a quick method and a variety of vegetables, this vegetarian Lentil Soup is an easy and nutritious weeknight family dinner—especially when you’re craving comfort food.

Lentil soup in white bowl with cheese on top.

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

My family loves soup and over the years we’ve gone through phases of many favorites. This lentil soup, which has a load of veggies in the mix for a really delicious flavor, was in heavy rotation for about two years when my girls were little and it’s still one of my favorites.

Lentils are quick to cook, full of vegetarian protein and fiber, and pack a decent amount of iron. (Find my full list of iron-rich foods for kids.) They are also incredibly inexpensive, so having a package in the pantry is a great way to ensure you are never too far from a yummy family dinner.

This easy Lentil Soup recipe uses basic pantry staples and a straight forward cooking method to keep things easy even if you’re making this as a weeknight family dinner.

(This is a favorite soup for kids—and you may also like my Alphabet Soup, Red Lentil Soup and Pastina Soup.)

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Ingredients You Need

To make this soup you’ll need to have the following ingredients on hand and ready to go.

  • Reduced-sodium broth: Chicken or vegetable broth can be used here depending on what you prefer.
  • Crushed canned tomatoes: This type of tomato blends into the soup nicely and adds acidity, which helps ensure that the soup has plenty of flavor.
  • Onion: I use yellow onions here, but white would work, too. You can also use frozen minced onion to reduce the prep time.
  • Carrots: I usually peel and chop fresh carrots, but frozen diced carrots would also be an option. Alternatively, you can use sweet potato, either on its own or mixed with the carrot to add more flavor.
  • Brown lentils: Brown lentils are my preference for this type of lentil soup and are what the recipe timing and liquid amounts are based on. (Green lentils and red lentils absorb liquids and cook at different rates, so they are not a good direct substitute here.)
  • Garlic: You can use freshly minced garlic cloves or jarred minced garlic from the store.
  • Thyme and bay leaves: I love the flavor of thyme in the mix with the other ingredients in this lentil soup, so I use it here. The bay leaves add more flavor, too.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the easy process involved in making this veggie lentil soup. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe, including the amounts and timing.

how to make vegetarian lentil soup in grid.
  1. Mince the vegetables or grind briefly in a food processor. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. And the vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until just starting to soften.
  2. Add the tomatoes and broth, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir in the bay leaf and lentils. Cover slightly, and simmer until the lentils are soft.
  4. Serve warm.
Lentil soup in storage container.

How to Store

This soup is delicious when it’s just made, but it tastes pretty great left over, too. It does thicken up as it chills, though, so you may want to add more broth when reheating.

Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the defrost setting in the microwave.

What’s the best way to serve soup to my toddler?

If your toddler is still learning to like soup, start with a small serving to avoid overwhelming them with a new food. And you can give them something to dip into the soup, like crackers or corn bread muffins.

You can even puree it completely smooth and serve it in a reusable pouch.

adult and child bowl of lentil soup.

Best Tips for Success

  • Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave, then warm through at regular heat once thawed. Stir in a little water when reheating if the soup has become very thick.
  • You can either grind the veggies into small pieces in a food processor or finely chop them with a knife. Finely chopped veggies helps ensure that the soup cooks in the times I mention throughout the recipe.
  • You can also puree the finished soup for a smoother option.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese, shredded cheese, additional salt and pepper, and/or hot sauce for parents as desired.

I’d love to hear what your family thinks of this recipe if you make it so please comment below with feedback!

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bowl of vegetarian lentil soup.

Favorite Vegetarian Lentil Soup

With a quick method and a variety of vegetables packed into the soup, this vegetarian Lentil Soup is a perfect weeknight family dinner—especially when you're craving comfort food.
4.91 from 30 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 206kcal
Servings 6 -8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups carrot (finely chopped; or try sweet potato)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart reduced-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups dry brown lentils
  • Parmesan, freshly minced parsley, cracked black pepper, additional salt to taste (optional to top)
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Instructions

  • Prep the vegetables. (Alternatively, you can roughly chop them and grind them in a food processor.)
  • Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. And the onion, carrots, and garlic. Stir to coat with oil, and cook for about 6 minutes or until just starting to soften.
  • Add the tomatoes, broth, thyme, salt, and bay leaf. Stir, then cover, and bring to a boil.
  • Remove cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and stir in the lentils. Cover slightly, so the lid is just partly on and some steam can escape, and simmer until the lentils are soft or about 20-25 minutes
  • (If the time has elapsed and the lentils are not yet fully softened, continue cooking and add a cup of water if needed.)
  • Serve topped with additional toppings, if desired.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave, then warm through at regular heat once thawed. Stir in a little water when reheating if the soup has become very thick.
  • Puree the soup for babies or if you prefer a smoother soup consistency.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese, shredded cheese, additional salt and pepper, and/or hot sauce for parents as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 445mg, Potassium: 864mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 7007IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published May 2018.

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Comments

  1. Ridiculously easy, great and flavorful for adults, and my new eater loved it!! I put some in a food processor to make it a bit easier for baby to eat. Great to freeze, too!

  2. Hi! You featured this recipe in your slow cooker newsletter/recipe round up. How long do you cook all ingredients on low (or high) in the crockpot ?

  3. 5 stars
    We absolutely love this recipe! My 3 kids, husband and I eat this soup and it’s the only lentil soup we eat. I have added zucchini at the end and it’s great! We also add some chili for the adult bowls
    😀
    Also, Amy is awesome! I make your quick lunches for my boy who started kindergarten.

  4. 5 stars
    Very delicious! I added a splash of milk into mine. Very good!
    I forgot to check the lentils before stopping the boil so they were a little tough. 😂 rookie mistake

    1. I haven’t tried that and since they are already cooked, you might want to reduce the liquid and cook the veggies first, then add the lentils towards the end.

    1. They can, though they cook much faster and breakdown more easily so the texture will be different than what’s shown here.

  5. So so. Needs meat or bread or something for texture. No matter how well I sort and rinse the Lentils I inevitably bite into a rock of some kind. Not a fan.

  6. 5 stars
    I tried this out tonight, my 2 year old has had a fever and isn’t eating, I was so pleased that she actually ate the lentil soup! Thank you, and great job 😀

  7. 4 stars
    It was pretty good. My 5 year old liked it, but my 8 year old didn’t. I also added bell pepper. I like how healthy it is with goo flavor. My only complaint is that it definitely takes longer than 30 minutes to make it. At least an hour, minimum, from start to finish. The simmering alone is almost 30 minutes.

  8. 5 stars
    My 18-month son loved this. I cut all veggies with a knife but noticed that he wouldn’t eat it without pureeing. So i ended up pureeing the soup after making the whole thing. He loved it!

    1. 5 stars
      Simple and everyone likes it! My 2 year old is happy to eat it and I’m always happy to add a fiber packed recipe to the repertoire 😊

  9. 3 stars
    Very strong taste of raw garlic and onion even after boiling for 30 minutes.

    I’d definitely recommend frying the vegetables first.

  10. 5 stars
    This has become a go-to recipe for my toddler. I make it as is and it always turns out perfectly. My now-22 month old daughter has eaten this since she was about 16 months. I freeze portions for her in small glass jars and it thaws beautifully. It’s a meal the whole family enjoys. Thank you!!

  11. Made this with red lentils and blended in a food processor instead of a blender. Just added the broth after.

    Turned out great! I add a little more salt to my bowl but left the tot’s as-is.

  12. Hello!
    I am just writing when my little one is eating the soup with delight.
    Thank you very much for this amazing, easy and fast recipe.

  13. My daughter love this recipe. I decided not to blender the lentil. And serve the lentil with shredded cheddar cheese and butter. She mixed them well in her bowl. She said is good!!!!!