Tomato Lentil Soup

$4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.88 from 32 votes
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There’s nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and wintry outside. The smell alone warms me from the inside out. This week I was craving a simple vegetable forward soup, so I whipped up this really easy Tomato Lentil Soup. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days, sometimes with a grilled cheese on the side. :)

Tomato lentil soup in the pot with bread and vegetables on the sides
Garnished with a little fresh parsley for visual appeal.

What Does Tomato Lentil Soup Taste Like?

This soup kind of tastes like a traditional vegetable soup, but with a slightly more tomato-y broth, plus a little earthiness from the lentils. It’s super hearty and comforting, which is exactly what I love about a good bowl of soup in the winter!

What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?

Lentils can be confusing, especially since there isn’t a lot of consistency in labeling in the United States. I used a basic brown lentil, which has a drab brown-olive color and cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering. Sometimes these lentils are labeled “green lentils” sometimes just “lentils” so to be sure you have the right kind, check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for about 20 minutes, not 45 minutes.

I do not suggest using a red, orange, or yellow lentil for this soup because they break down too easily and you’ll end up with something more along the lines of a lentil porridge than a lentil soup. :) (It would probably still taste good, though!)

How are the Leftovers?

One of the reasons I love soup is because they almost always make great leftovers, and this soup is no exception. The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. I always suggest dividing the soup into single portions just after cooking so it cools down more quickly in the refrigerator, which will give you more longevity with the leftovers. Once cooled you can transfer some to the freezer for later!

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
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Tomato Lentil Soup

4.88 from 32 votes
This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins
Total 1 hr


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 carrots ($0.42)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 russet potato (about 1 lb.) ($0.60)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.10)
  • 2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes ($1.18)
  • 1 cup brown lentils ($0.67)
  • ½ tsp paprika ($0.10)
  • ½ tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)


  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots (I like smaller pieces for this recipe, so I do a quarter round slice). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the oniosn are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, peel and dice the potato into ½-inch cubes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the cubed potato, stewed tomatoes (with juices), lentils, paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top and allow the soup to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are super tender and have begun to break down slightly (this helps thicken the soup).
  • Add the soy sauce to the soup, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed (the total amount will depend on the salt content of your vegetable broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

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Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 279.58kcalCarbohydrates: 48.58gProtein: 12.17gFat: 5.65gSodium: 1148.67mgFiber: 7.48g
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Close up side view of tomato lentil soup in the pot

How to Make Tomato Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onions carrots and garlic in a soup pot

Dice one onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice three carrots. I like to do smaller pieces of carrot for this soup, so I cut the slices into quarter rounds. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft. While the carrot and onion are sautéing, peel and dice one russet potato into ½-inch cubes.

Tomato paste added to the soup pot

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and continue to sauté for a few more minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, seasoning, and broth added to the pot

Add the cubed potato, two 15oz. cans of stewed tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup lentils (not cooked), ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp pepper, and 4 cups vegetable broth.

Soup in the pot before simmering

Stir everything to combine. Place a lid on top and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have begun to break down a bit.

Finished tomato lentil soup

After simmering the soup, stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth. I did not add any in addition to the soy sauce).

front view of a bowl full of tomato lentil soup

Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping! (I garnished with a little parsley for color, but it’s not needed to flavor this soup.)

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  1. Very nice recipe chef 👍👌👏. I add some seleri and a couple of bay leafs. Thank you for your effort 🌹🌞😎

  2. This was soooooooo good! I added a can of chickpeas (rinsed) to up the protein. Highly recommend! This will be a regular in my meal prep!

  3. Delicious! Added some feta and spicy salt to finish. Every recipe I’ve tried from your site has been a keeper. Thank you!

  4. So delicious! This will definitely become part of our regular rotation. Earthy, hearty, and unlike many other vegetarian recipes – my family didn’t miss the meat! I had a lonely sweet potato left in my pantry, and used it in place of the russet after previous reviewers’ recommendation. My lentils did take an extra 10 minutes to cook, but I believe that’s just a natural variation.

  5. Delicious and easy! My husband wolfed down two bowls. I added celery because we had some that needed to be used up.

  6. This was delicious! I actually used a cubed sweet potato instead of a white potato as that is what i had on hand. Loved it!! Definitely saving this one!

  7. Hello! Unfortunately, I don’t have any stewed tomatoes on hand. Do you think home-made crushed tomatoes could work? Thanks.

    1. Stewed tomatoes are a bit different than crushed tomatoes because they are cooked with other ingredients, which creates a different flavor. But you could probably transform those crushed tomatoes into something similar to stewed tomatoes. If you Google “stewed tomatoes” there are a bunch of recipes for homemade stewed tomatoes that you could use as a reference. :)

  8. Recipe was so clear and easy and I luckily had almost all the ingredients on hand! As I didn’t have canned tomatoes, I used an entire can of tomato paste instead. In addition, I used a healthy dash of smoked paprika and served with Franks Hot Sauce. Ultimately, it tasted like a yummy vegan chili! I might add some cumin next time. Thank you!

  9. Do you have to soak the lentils overnight, and; then cook them before putting them in soup?

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever made a bad recipe from Budget Bytes and this is another winner. I love tomato soup but I like to have a bit of protein in my meals so this recipe with the lentils is just perfect. I made it as written, with just a couple extra pinches of salt. I added crumbled up parmesan cheese crisps as a topping and it was delicious. Thank you for making cooking so easy, delicious, and affordable!

  11. This was tasty! Cooked on low for 8 hours in my slow cooker and it turned out great. I omitted the oil, subbed beef broth, fire roasted tomatoes and added a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon to my bowl along with some fresh parsley. So hearty & comforting on this -30 degree Celsius winter day. Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. Thanks for sharing how it turned out with the slow cooker! I know that will be very helpful to a lot of people. :)

  12. Loved the flavor!

    My lentils, potatoes and carrots all came out crunchy/not fully cooked even after simmering for 50 minutes (10 more mins than recipe calls for) Does a higher altitude effect the cooking time?

    I will definitely be trying again with longer cooking time because the flavor is amazing and perfect for the cold weather!!

    1. Higher altitude probably does affect the cook time, but I’m not very familiar with high-altitude cooking, so I can’t say for sure how to adjust. It may also be the variety of lentils that you used. Some take longer to cook than others. Check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Other varieties may need more like 45-60 minutes. I’m not sure how the carrots and potatoes were still crunchy after simmering for 50 minutes, though. Carrots and potatoes should only take about 15 minutes to become tender. That makes me wonder if your soup stopped simmering at some point and was just being kept warm. Or perhaps that’s another side effect of the altitude?

  13. So good! Made in Instant Pot (sautee function, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release). I added ground spicy pork sausage to my meat lover’s portion. I tried to mash up the stewed tomatoes a bit because mine were pretty big. Loved this dish!!

  14. Is there a difference in red vs brown lentils? Could I use the red in this recipe? It sure looks good.

    1. Yep, they are definitely different. Brown lentils have a much earthier flavor and they hold their shape when cooked. Red lentils have a much more mild flavor and they break down really quickly when cooked, sort of like split peas, so you’ll end up with more of a mush texture rather than individual lentils. :) I definitely suggest brown for this recipe.