Tomato Lentil Soup

$4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.91 from 43 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

4.91 from 43 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 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
Total 1 hour


  • 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. I’ve been eating this for weeks for my lunches at works, and it never gets old! One batch makes 5 nice sized bowls, which I prepare on Sunday and divide out for the week. Instead of the canned tomatoes, we used our prepared, frozen tomatoes from our garden and this really enhances the flavor and is a great way to use our tomatoes.

  2. This is soooooo good! I changed out the paprika to 1 tspn smoked paprika and realized I didn’t have basil. I substituted 1 tspn Italian seasoning for the basil and oregano. I did everything in my Instant Pot. Sauted everthing up until the directions said to cook for 40 minutes. High pressure x 8 minute instead.

  3. This came out great! Added extra garlic, onion, potato, tomato paste and spices and added jalapeno, zucchini, and frozen kale. This gave it a nice little spice and veggie bulk! Thank you!

  4. It’s a great recipe! Tried and tested. A perfect comfort food on a rainy day. Thank you!

  5. LOVE this soup! I made in in the instant pot. Sautéed veggies for step 1 and 2, added the rest of the ingredients (except soy sauce) and cooked at high pressure for 8 minutes. Added soy at the end. My only complaint is there was not as much for leftovers as I hoped. Next time will do a double batch.

    1. Double batch fit but didn’t work so well in the instant pot. I got a burn warning, presumably because it was too tomatoy and not as watery and full to the max fill line. I was able to salvage nearly all of it by transferring to a large stock pot and still met my meal prepping goals for the week. Absolutely delicious!! Thanks again for such simple, healthy and crazy low-cost recipes.

  6. Can I substitute one can of fire roasted tomatoes for the stewed tomatoes? Thanks.

    1. Yes, it will change the flavor slightly, but I’m sure it will still be delicious. :)

  7. OMG.. sooooo good! :) Another amazing recipe. I added 1tsp of smoked paprika for smokiness, 1/4 pepper flakes for heat & 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce for richness. Amazing!

  8. Oh I’ve made something like this before but in a slow-cooker and with coriander/cumin added for flavour plus beans, it’s really good. The recipe did mention to add tomato-based stuff at the end after the lentils have cooked.

    I wonder what would happen if you add that Korean red pepper paste (Gochujang).

  9. I added green beans instead of carrots since I was out of carrots. Few dashes of hot sauce, beef broth instead of vegetable broth and simmered with a lid checked and stirred it frequently. It came out so flavorful it definitely is a new fave soup recipe of mine!!

  10. This is my go to at the moment. Love it so much! I’d I have time and can be bothered I oven roasted cherry tomatoes instead of tinned tomatoes. I also sub half smoked paprika and half normal paprika. No matter what way I make it though, it’s a total winner!

  11. sooooo good! I even forgot the soy sauce and I still really loved it. took another commenter suggestion and added chickpeas for more texture and protein but it would be just as good without. I did not need to simmer the soup for longer than 40 mins like some other commenters did. will make again!

  12. Really tasty! My husband really enjoys animal based protein in his meals, so I added some hot Italian sausage, which took the flavor profile to a new level. I also only had canned diced tomatoes, not stewed, so I added extra tomato paste to give it a rich flavor. My lentils were still a little “solid” after 40 minutes, but we still enjoyed it. Might also be great with some spinach mixed in or topped with a delicious melty cheese!

  13. Delicious and easy. I warmed it up in the morning and had a great breakfast!