Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

$5.24 recipe / $0.52 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 147 votes
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OMG… This Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is my new all-time favorite soup! I’ve already eaten two bowls since I made it today at lunch and I don’t think I’ll even need to freeze any because it will be gone fast. This super flavorful and hearty soup is a vegetarian take on the old classic, Lentil & Sausage Stew, from way back in 2010. I replaced the sausage with black beans, added some tomatoes for brightness, and nixed the spinach. The black beans help make everything thick and creamy and the blend of herbs and spices just can’t be beat. It’s soooo good. So many colors, flavors, and textures in one bowl, and super cheap, too!

The best part? I already had most of the ingredients on hand, so when I went to pick up the remaining items my total bill was about $3. It pays to shop in your pantry before you shop in the store!

Originally posted 1-1-2014, updated 12-20-16

Top view of a bowl of Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup with a spoon on the side

What Kind of Lentils to Use

I used a quick cooking brown lentil for this recipe. These lentils are also sometimes called green lentils, depending on the brand, but they are not the same as French green lentils, which take much longer to cook. The lentils used in this recipe only need to be simmered for about 20 minutes to become tender and do not require pre-soaking.

I do not suggest using red or yellow lentils for this recipe because they do not hold their shape and will become mushy once boiled, resulting in a soup more similar in texture to split pea soup.

What Else Can I Add?

I love the flexibility of soup. If you want to add a little extra green to your soup, feel free to add some chopped fresh spinach or frozen spinach, and just stir it in until wilted and heated through. I love to top my lentil and vegetable soup with a dollop of sour cream or a pinch of cheese! If you like things spicy, feel free to add a diced jalapeño or a couple dashes of hot sauce.

How to Store the Leftovers

This recipe makes a HUGE batch, but thankfully the leftovers taste great! I like to divide my soup into single serving portions right after cooking to facilitate faster cooling, and to make the leftovers really easy to grab-n-go (and reheat). This soup also freezes great, so once it’s completely chilled in the refrigerator you can transfer it to the freezer for long-term storage (about three months).

 

Side view of a bowl of Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Sop with spoon

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Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

4.92 from 147 votes
This Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup is packed with hearty flavor, texture, and good-for-you vegetables! 
Servings 8 1.25 cups each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.50)
  • ½ lb. carrots (3-4 carrots) ($0.55)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.80)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.89)
  • 1 cup brown lentils ($0.31)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • Freshly ground black pepper ($0.05)
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes ($0.85)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth* ($0.52)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

Instructions 

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté both in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until the onions are tender. Meanwhile, slice the celery and peel and slice the carrots. Add the celery and carrots to the pot and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes more.
  • Drain the can of black beans and add it to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), dry lentils, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper (10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). Finally, add the vegetable broth, and stir to combine.
  • Increase the heat to medium high and allow the pot to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, test the lentils to make sure they are tender. If not, continue to simmer until they are tender.**
  • Taste the soup and add salt as needed (I added 1/2 tsp). Serve hot.

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Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon brand soup base to make my vegetable broth. It's less expensive than canned or boxed broths.
**Brown lentils take about 20-30 minutes to cook, green or French lentils take closer to 45 minutes to cook.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25CupsCalories: 224.58kcalCarbohydrates: 37.24gProtein: 11.75gFat: 4.16gSodium: 858.43mgFiber: 10.49g
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Dollop of sour cream on top of a bowl of Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup with a spoon

A little dollop of sour cream is SO GOOD on this Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

How to Make Vegetable and Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sauté Garlic and Onion in pot

Mince two cloves of garlic and dice one onion. Sauté both in a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until the onions have softened. 

 

Celery and Carrots added to pot to cook

While the garlic and onion are cooking, clean and slice 1/2 lb. (3-4 medium) carrots and 3 ribs celery. Add them to the pot and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.

Extra celery and carrots chopped and put in zip lock bag for a "Soup Starter" to freeze for later

Most of my soups start with 1/2 lb. of carrots and 3-4 ribs of celery, so instead of just letting the other half of each go limp in the fridge, I go ahead and slice them up then freeze them for the next soup. 

Beans, Lentils, Tomatoes and Spices added to pot with other ingredients

Once the carrots and celery have cooked a few minutes, add 1 cup dry brown lentils, one 15 oz. can black beans (drained), one 15oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and some freshly ground black pepper (about 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill). Stir to combine.

Vegetable Broth added to pot with other ingredients

And 4 cups of vegetable broth. Stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high and let it come up to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. 

Simmering soup Until Lentils are Tender

After 30 minutes, test the lentils to make sure they are tender. If you have green or French lentils, they may need to simmer for 45 minutes or so to fully soften. Also taste the soup and add salt if desired (I added 1/2 tsp of salt). Now it’s ready to serve!

Top view of a bowl of Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup with a spoon in it

Spoonful of Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup being held over bowl

 

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  1. My picky husband LOVED this and he is NOT a vegetarian fan. Easy to make, inexpensive, and just excellent on a cold winter day. Hubby said it’s a keeper and repeater. Woohoo!

  2. This recipe came together so quickly and is full of flavor! I added a package of sliced baby portobellos. Just the right amount of “meatiness” for us veggies! Filling and delicious. My new go to.

  3. This soup is a winner with me and my kids. Besides being healthy, it freezes well, too, which is a big plus for this busy, working single parent. I like to add a cup of frozen corn and will sometimes add more broth and spice (I like it soupy). I am going to experiment with adding some fresh parsley. Great recipe. Thanks, Beth!

  4. I just made this again and it is so incredibly yummy! Thanks for the great recipes!

  5. I made this tonight and it was so good!! The only modification I made was to add a bay leaf when I cooked it. This is hearty, filling and so full of flavor! I topped it with cilantro and that was good. Thank you! I look forward to trying more of your meatless meals. DDs boyfriend was over for dinner and he asked what kind of meat was in it, I told him “none” and he was surprised! He liked it and went back for seconds! :)

  6. Hi Beth, What containers do you use to store your soup in for the grab and go convenience? Thanks

  7. This is my absolute favorite recipe. I have been making it for over 8 years now, and it always hits the spot. I make the recipe as-is and always make sure to buy a baguette for dipping. Thank you for this gift, Beth!!

  8. Very tasty! I love lentils anyway I can get them but this simple recipe really elevated the humble lentil. Again your recipes always seem to use ingredients I keep on hand. I try not to deviate from the recipe the first time I make it but used fire roasted tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand. This recipe was cozy and nourishing and will be in my regular rotation. Can’t wait to throw in some spinach per your suggestion the next time. FYI I had some for breakfast this morning! Keep em’ coming Ms. Beth!

  9. So. Good. Perfect for my gluten free husband. I made it exactly as stated, but added some fresh spinach since I had it on hand. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for this recipe! It’ll be a regular at our house. 

  10. This is one of my favorite recipes! I really enjoy adding a parmesan cheese rind while it simmers – delicious!

  11. My favorite lentil soup recipe ever! You could add sausage or meat, but you won’t miss it.

    I use my instant pot, 9 minutes high pressure, natural release for maybe 5 minutes, if you can wait. Delicious every time. The spices are just perfect and it makes a nice an healthy, but filling, lunch!

  12. I make this tasty soup often. Thank you for the recipe. My son shared it with me.

  13. Excellent and so easy. I have a family member who doesn’t like black beans so I replaced with chickpeas and white navy beans. I added extra broth as others suggested because we like it soupy. Also added a bag of chopped spinach at the end for some colour. We ate it for days in a row happily and will make it again this week. A great recipe that can take add ins to suit you.