This easy vegan lentil tomato soup is nutritious, full of flavour and ready to enjoy in about 30 minutes.

A close up image of a bowl of vegan red lentil tomato soup with bits of diced tomato, carrots and celery. There are a bit of dried herbs and black pepper sprinkled on top of the soup.

About this Recipe

This healthy lentil tomato soup is just simple, wholesome goodness. It features a flavourful base of veggies, tomato-y broth with Italian herbs and hearty red lentils that add a nice thickness to the soup.

The recipe is easy to whip up in 30 minutes and makes a wonderfully comforting dish during the colder months, especially when served with a nice slab of fresh bread! Enjoy this soup any night of the week for a quick, healthy meal.


  • Ready in 30 minutes with minimal prep time.
  • Budget-friendly simple ingredients.
  • Can be made in advance and freezer well
  • Vegan, gluten-free and can be oil-free.
  • Rich in plant-based protein and fiber.
  • Low in fat.

Ingredient Notes

Diced tomatoes, lentils, broth, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves in containers on a marble counter top.

A complete list of ingredients with amounts and full instructions is located in the printable recipe card below. This section covers ingredient and substitution considerations.

  • Olive Oil: I like to use a little olive oil for the veggies but you can use water or broth for an oil-free soup.
  • Onion: White or yellow onion works.
  • Carrot: You’ll need about 3 medium carrots but the amount doesn’t have to be exact.
  • Celery: Use about 4 stalks of celery, again, the amount doesn’t have to be exact.
  • Garlic: I used quite a bit of garlic – 5 cloves! Feel free to use a bit less if you think that might be too overpowering.
  • Stock: You can use any store-bought or homemade vegetable stock or broth.
  • Red Lentils: The recipe calls for red lentils, which are soft when cooked. You could use brown or green lentils but the soup will have a longer cooking time and a different texture.
  • Diced Tomato: You’ll need a 28 oz can of diced tomato. I like fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavour! Love tomato? Add 1 tbsp tomato paste when you add the herbs in the recipe.
  • Herbs: The recipe calls for oregano, basil and thyme. You can substitute 2 tsp Italian seasoning if you like. You can also substitute roughly 2 tbsp minced fresh herbs for each dried herb.
  • Bay Leaf: Adds a bit of extra savory flavour to the soup but is technically optional so don’t worry if you don’t have any.
  • Lemon: I like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to brighten things up.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1. Start by chopping the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and assembling the dried herbs so you’re ready to go.

Chopped celery on a marble counter top. There are bowls of red lentils, vegetable broth and diced tomatoes in the background.

Once you’ve prepped everything, heat the oil (if using) in a large soup pot or large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Add the garlic, celery and carrot and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.

Onions, carrots and garlic simmering in a soup pot with a wooden spoon.

Add the pepper, dried herbs, chili flakes (if using) and the bay leaf and cook for another minute while stirring, then add the lentils, stock and diced tomatoes.

A hand pouring vegetable stock into a pot of tomato lentil soup on a stovetop.

Simmer the soup, uncovered, until the lentils are tender. This should take 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice, taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

A large pot of lentil tomato soup simmering on a stovetop. There are a few bay leaves floating in the soup and a few pieces of celery and carrot in the background.

That’s it! Serve your yummy soup right away sprinkled with fresh parsley and black pepper, if you like, or let it cool and pack it for meal prep or a freezer meal.

An overhead image of a bowl of red lentil tomato soup on a marble counter top. There's a whole pot of the same soup and a spoon resting on a cloth beside the bowl.

Notes & Tips

  • Oil-Free Option: Omit the oil and use a bit of water or broth to saute the veggies.
  • For spicy lentil soup, use the red pepper flakes and increase up to 1/2 tsp (or more!) if you like heat. You could also use cayenne pepper.
  • For greens and extra nutrition, add 2-3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach or kale at the end and stir in to wilt.
  • For additional veggies, add 1 diced red bell pepper when you add the celery and carrot.
  • For more texture, you can pulse the soup a few times with an immersion blender at the end or scoop 1-2 cups into a blender, puree soup, then pour back into the pot.
  • Creamy Tomato Lentil Soup: For a completely creamy soup, remove the bay leaves and blend the entirety of the soup until smooth and creamy. Season and enjoy!


Can you freeze lentil soup?

Sure! Let the soup cool completely then freeze in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag.

When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight or place it right into a large pot on the stovetop to reheat.

Can you make this in a crockpot?

Yes. To make this recipe in a slow cooker, either saute the veggies on the stovetop first (recipe steps 1-4) before adding everything to the pot or just add everything to the crockpot and cook for 5-6 hours until the veggies and lentils are tender.

What kind of lentils can use?

I would recommend using red lentils in this recipe. Red lentils have a soft, creamy texture when cooked which naturally thickens the soup.

You can, however, substitute brown lentils or green lentils. They will take 5-10 minutes longer to cook and the soup will have a different consistency but it will still be tasty.

Can I use canned lentils?

Yes. To use canned lentils, reduce the broth to 3-4 cups. Simmer the soup without the lentils until the carrots are tender then mix in the lentils to heat through. Drain and rinse the canned lentils before using them.

A bowl of red lentil soup on a marble counter top.


  • Let the soup cool before storing.
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat the soup in a pot on the stovetop or in individual servings in the microwave in 30-45 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until heated through.
  • Note that the soup will get thicker as it sits. You can stir in broth or water when you’re reheating the soup until you reach your desired consistency. You can also leave it thick like a hearty lentil stew!
  • To freeze, cool, then transfer to freezer bags or a freezer-safe container. Freeze for 3-4 months. Thaw in the fridge or reheat from frozen in a large pot.

Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.

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A bowl of red lentil soup on a marble counter top.

Vegan Tomato Lentil Soup

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
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A simple, hearty and healthy plant-based lentil tomato soup that’s easy to make in about 30 minutes with everyday ingredients.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil (use water or broth for oil-free)
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or grated (about 3 tbsp)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 4 stalks of celery, diced (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional, for heat
  • 56 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup uncooked red lentils
  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes with the juices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and additional pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. If you’re not using oil, just add the onion with 1-2 tbsp water or broth.
  2. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the garlic, celery and carrot and cook for another 3-4 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the pepper, dried herbs, red pepper flakes, if using, and the bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  5. Add the stock, red lentils and diced tomatoes and bring to a light simmer. Start with 5 cups of broth and if needed, slowly add a bit more as it cooks to adjust the thickness.
  6. Simmer lightly, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and additional pepper, to taste, and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  8. Remove the bay leaves and serve right away. 


Make the recipe oil-free by omitting the oil and sautéing the veggies in broth or water.

This recipe works with brown or green lentils but will require a slightly longer cooking time and have a firmer texture in the final soup.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.


  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 193
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 138 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 10 g

Keywords: red lentil tomato soup

UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on September 8, 2014.