This vegan red lentil tomato soup is nutritious and easy to make in one pot in 30 minutes.

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.


This healthy tomato red lentil soup recipe is simple, wholesome goodness and perfect for easy weeknight dinners. It features a flavourful base of veggies, tomato-based broth, Italian herbs and hearty red lentils that add a nice thickness, earthy flavor and nutrition 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 slab of crusty bread. It also freezes and stores well so it’s a great option for meal prep or batch cooking.

If you have extra red lentils after making this recipe, you can use them in Coconut Red Lentil Dahl, Sweet Potato Lentil Soup or Butternut Squash Lentil Soup. Those 3 recipe use coconut milk and curry powder rather than the Italian-inspired flavors of this recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Diced tomatoes, lentils, broth, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves in containers on a marble counter top.
  • 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.
  • Vegetable Broth: 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 yellow lentils, brown lentils 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 or crushed tomatoes. 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. For a similar recipe made curry powder instead of Italian spices, you can try my Curried Lentil Soup.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Variations & Additions

  • 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 or green 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 or food processor, 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.

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.

Step 2: Once you’ve prepped everything, heat the oil (if using) in a large 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.

Step 3: Add the pepper, dried herbs, red pepper flakes and the bay leaf and cook for another minute while stirring, then add the red lentils, vegetable stock and diced tomatoes.

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

Step 4: Simmer the soup, uncovered, until the lentils are tender. This should take 15-20 minutes.

Step 5: 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 delicious soup right away sprinkled with fresh parsley and black pepper, if you like. Even better, with some garlic bread.

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

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze lentil soup?

Sure! Let the soup cool completely then freeze in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag and store for 3-4 months.

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.

Can you make this recipe in Instant Pot?

Yes. To make this recipe in a pressure cooker, use the Saute function to saute the veggies, herbs and seasoning for a few minutes then add the rest of the ingredients, seal the Instant Pot and cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes.

Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release any remaining pressure, carefully option the lid, taste, season if needed and enjoy.

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.

How do you store leftover lentil soup?

Let the soup cook before storing. Store leftovers in an airtight 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 for lentil stew.

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

Vegan Red Lentil Tomato Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 19 reviews
  • 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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An Italian lentil soup recipe featuring tender lentils in a tomato-y broth that’s easy to make in 30 minutes and a great way to include nutritious lentils in your diet.


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin 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
  • 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 Oil: 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. Saute Onion: Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add Fresh Veggies: Add the garlic, celery and carrot and cook for another 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring often.
  4. Add Seasonings: Add the pepper, dried herbs, red pepper flakes, if using, and the bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  5. Add Liquids and Simmer: Add 5 cups of 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 broth or up to a cup of water as it cooks to adjust the thickness. Simmer lightly, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Season and Serve: Season with salt and additional pepper, to taste, and add a squeeze of lemon juice. 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

Originally published on September 8, 2014.