Red Lentil Soup With Spinach And Carrots

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An incredibly comforting and nourishing red lentil soup that is quick, simple, and easy to throw together. Made with wholesome split red lentils, you can have it ready in just 30 minutes. This naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free soup is perfect for warming you up on cold days!

Red Lentil Soup With Spinach And Carrots

Lentils are one of my favorite foods. They are creamy, filling, and incredibly versatile. They are perfect in curries, soups, salads…you name it!

And split red lentils are an essential staple in my kitchen because they cook in very little time. In just 20 minutes, these red lentils will go from dry to creamy, soft, and hearty.

Perfect for a last-minute dinner!

I normally serve this soup with some warm crusty wholewheat bread. Pure heaven!

Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients you need

Here is what you’ll need to make this hearty red lentil soup. I promise, there’s nothing too fancy. You’ll have most of these things in your pantry and fridge or freezer.

  • Red lentils: Of course. Make sure to use red split lentils, as they’ll cook faster.
  • Onion and garlic: To create a wonderfully rich and sweet flavor.
  • Spices: A simple mix of cumin, turmeric, and black pepper.
  • Carrots: To add a bit of sweetness.
  • Spinach: Fresh or frozen. Because we should never forget that we all need to eat our greens!
  • Vegetable broth (or water): If I don’t have vegetable broth available, I simply add water to this recipe. The flavor from the spices, lentils, and veggies gives it enough depth to make it delicious.
  • The juice of one lemon: Optional to add a bit of zest and acidity. I strongly recommend you try it!
  • Parsley: to garnish the soup.
  • Olive oil and salt

What are red split lentils?

Red split lentils are different from red lentils. They are made from red lentils with brownish skin. the skin is removed, and then the lentils are split into two halves. This helps to cook them much faster than normal lentils.

They are a bright orange when dry but turn golden yellow when cooked! 

Top view of red lentil soup ingredients

How to make red lentil soup

  1. Sauté the onion in some olive oil on low heat, then add the crushed garlic and spices. Let the spices cook for around a minute to bring out the flavors, but don’t overcook them, or they could turn bitter!
Overhead shot of white pot with onion and garlic
  1. Add the carrots cut into chunks and the red lentils. Stir for a couple of minutes to let the lentils absorb the flavors, then add the vegetable broth or water and let everything cook for around 20 minutes. There is no need to blend the soup. The lentils will naturally puree and reach a thick, creamy consistency. If you like your soup more watery, add a bit more broth or water when it’s almost ready.
  1. When lentils are cooked and falling apart, add the spinach and cook for about a minute (If you are using frozen spinach, add them 5 minutes earlier). 
  1. Serve hot, garnished with some fresh parsley. 
Hands holding a warm bowl of red lentil soup
  1. Optional: add the juice of one lemon to add a touch of freshness (plus, the lemon, with its vitamin C, will help you to absorb the iron in the lentils and spinach). 

Do you need to soak or pre-cook lentils for this recipe?

Absolutely not! The amazing thing about red lentils is that they’ll cook in around 15-20 minutes.

Usually, you’ll need a 1:3 ratio of lentils to liquid, which means that if you use 1 cup of red lentils, you’ll need 3 cups of water. But if you like your soup thinner, simply add a bit more broth. For a thicker soup, let it simmer for an extra 5-10 minutes. There is no risk of overcooking the lentils.

So, all you need to do to cook red lentils is quickly rinse them under cold water and chuck them straight into the pan.

Then cover with water or broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and let them cook for 15-20 minutes until they start to fall apart and become creamy and soft.

Spoon holding some red lentil soup from a bowl

Is Red Lentil Soup Good For You?

Yes! Red lentil soup (or any lentil soup, for that matter) is nourishing, creamy, delicious, and also incredibly healthy. Lentils are a little nutrition powerhouse.

They are one of the best plant-based protein sources, with over 25% of their calories coming straight from protein. This makes them the perfect meat substitute if you want to include more plant-based meals in your diet.

Plus, they are rich in fiber, making them incredibly filling yet low in calories. They are also packed with B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. 

So make sure to include lentils in your diet!

How to store and meal prep

This is a great soup to make in advance for meal prep. It’s one of those soups that gets better when you reheat it, especially on the stove.

In the fridge: Pour the soup into airtight containers and keep it refrigerated for 3-4 days.

In the freezer: Divide the soup into freezer-safe containers. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Once you are ready to eat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before warming it up. 

white bowl filled with red lenti soup

You can then reheat it in the microwave, or, my preferred method, reheat it on the stove, adding half a cup of water to loosen it up a bit for perfect consistency.

Two bowls filled with red lentil soup

Top tips

  • I use a 1:3 ratio for this recipe: 3 cups of liquid for 1 cup of red lentils. I like my soup really thick. But feel free to adjust this to your liking. 
  • Use any greens you like: anything goes – kale, chard, collard greens, cabbage. Just make sure you add your greens a bit sooner, depending on their cooking time.
  • You can make this soup with any other type of lentils, but it will take longer to cook (30 to 45 minutes, depending on the lentils), and the result won’t be as creamy. You might need to use an immersion blender to give it a blitz or two to achieve the perfect creamy consistency.

Other hearty recipes you’ll love:

Close up of a bowl with red lentil soup
5 from 2 votes
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Red Lentil Soup With Spinach And Carrots

An incredibly comforting and nourishing red lentil soup that is quick, simple, and easy to throw together. Made with wholesome split red lentils, you can have it ready in just 30 minutes. This naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free soup is perfect for warming you up during cold days!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Western
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 433kcal
Author: Sara Trezzi

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin - or cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cups red split lentils - rinsed under cold water
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 7 oz fresh baby spinach - (or frozen spinach)
  • salt
  • fresh parsley - (optional)
  • the juice of 1 lemon - (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, let it brown for a couple of minutes, and then add the minced garlic.
  • Add the spices and let everything cook for around a minute.
  • Add the chopped carrots, mix well. Then add the rinsed red lentils and the vegetable broth or water.
  • Increase the heath and bring to simmer. Then reduce the heat and let the soup cook for around 20 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  • Add a touch of water if you want to adjust the soup consistency. If you prefer an even creamier soup, give it a blitz or two with a hand blender (I normally don’t).
  • Add the fresh baby spinach and cook for one minute. If using frozen spinach, add them 5 minutes earlier. Season to taste with salt.
  • Add the lemon juice, garnish with parsley and serve hot with some warm bread.

Notes

Serving size: The quantity listed in the recipe is perfect for four large bowls of soup, but if you eat it as a starter, you can get six smaller servings.
Liquid: I use a 1:3 ratio for this recipe: 3 cups of liquid for 1 cup of red lentils. Start from there, then feel free to adjust this to your liking. 
Storage: This is a great soup to make in advance for meal prep. Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months. 
Other lentils? You can make this soup with any other type of lentils, but it will take longer to cook (30 to 45 minutes, depending on the lentils). Dry lentils will have a much nicer texture than canned lentils for this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 6g | Sugar: 6g

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve never used split red lentils before. This soup was so easy to make and it tastes amazing. I did add coriander with the cumin, just because I like those together. Could you add coconut milk? It would just make it creamier, right? I may play with that next time. This is definitely a keeper recipe. Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much, Kim. So happy you liked it! Coconut milk here works really well. It adds a touch of sweetness, so yes, go for it.