Best Ever Simple Lentil Soup

by Dorothy Reinhold on December 19, 2011

Print This Post Print This Post Best Ever Simple Lentil Soup

Let’s humbly subtitle this “Lentil Soup of the Gods.”

Meaty without containing meat, thick, rich tasting without being fatty, this is fill-you-up-but-not-out stuff.

Although lentils generally cook fairly quickly and don’t need a soak first, I’m using fresh steamed lentils here to save even more time, so delicious soup dinners can be had during the workweek, too.

I call dibs on leftovers for lunch.

Recipe: Best Ever Simple Lentil Soup

Summary: Rich tasting without being fatty, thick and satisfying, this is the best recipe for Lentil Soup you’ll ever taste!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, in own juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (17-ounce) package steamed lentils (Melissa’s brand preferred, available in the refrigerated produce section)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Garnish: Grated Parmesan


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and a pinch of kosher salt and cook until tender, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juice, rosemary and bay leaf, steamed lentils and another pinch of salt, broth, water and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove and discard the rosemary and bay leaf.
  4. Serve, garnishing each bowl with a sprinkling of Parmesan.
  5. Serves 4.

Quick notes

  • Like most soups, this one is even better if you make it a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. When you reheat and serve it the next night for dinner, the flavor will be better, if that is even possible!

Melissa's Lentils

  • What are steamed lentils? They are cooked, ready-to-eat, and usually found in the fresh produce section at the grocery store. You can use them hot or cold in soups, grain side dishes, salads or appetizers — anywhere you like to use lentils!
  • Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian version for Meatless Monday.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Diet tags: Reduced fat
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy February 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Hi Dorothy- this recipe looks so delicious and full of flavor. I love how quickly the soup comes together when you use steamed lentils. I usually season mine with thyme and cumin. I will try your variation too. I love how flexible lentil soup is.


Dorothy Reinhold February 19, 2015 at 8:24 am

Thyme and cumin sounds excellent to me! Lentil soup can take whatever spices you dish out, right?


Kristina February 18, 2015 at 8:09 am

hmm, I have never had steamed lentils – I have to look for those! otherwise, I will be making this soon, both Jason and I love lentil soup and this sounds incredible! and I agree – so good the next day!


Dorothy Reinhold February 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

Right you are about the leftovers! Those steamed lentils make whipping up dinner so easy. I keep them on hand for that reason.


Alisa @ Go Dairy Free February 18, 2015 at 8:03 am

Oh my goodness, I could just slurp that right from the screen! It looks so amazingly rich, earthy and hearty all in one.


Dorothy Reinhold February 19, 2015 at 8:29 am

Ha! Me too!


Faith (An Edible Mosaic) February 18, 2015 at 4:46 am

After your description, I’m hooked! This is now at the top of my must-make list.


Dorothy Reinhold February 19, 2015 at 8:29 am

Wonderful! Let me know how you like it!


Pam June 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Just finished making this soup. Oh boy! Can’t wait to eat it. The aroma in the house is amazing. I used mostly beef broth but also used a little chicken broth that I needed to use up. Added some dried parsley flakes for color at the end. Had made my own chicken broth last night so that’s what I cooked my dried lentils in first then added the rest of the ingredients. Thanks for the recipe. Soups are my passion and love to sample them in restaurants.


Dorothy Reinhold June 8, 2014 at 8:09 am

So glad you are making it! Let me know your final thoughts after you taste it!


Nancy January 25, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I make this soup all the time. I add leeks to the veggie mix. I use 2 packages of Melissa’s Steamed Lentils & puree half of one package to make the soup thick. Sometime I use less broth (have made with both beef & chicken = either fabulous) and it’s more of a stew. Pour over a baked sweet potato & with a couple of tablespoons of non-fat greek yogurt. So Delish!


Dorothy Reinhold January 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Love the idea of it being a topping for a sweet potato! Great idea!


Michael January 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Just made this soup and it is FANTASTIC. I used vegetable broth and no cheese as I’m vegan. But this really helped me fight off the cold! For a boost in flavor I also added garam masala which really gives this soup a great taste. Next time I think I’ll double the onion. (I love onion)


Dorothy Reinhold January 23, 2014 at 1:44 am

Great tweaks! So glad you liked it!


Ebeth December 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Another winner! So flavorful! I added a some chopped kale since I had it handy.


Dorothy Reinhold December 17, 2013 at 9:04 am

Chopped kale is ALWAYS welcome in soup! Great idea!


Delores August 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

Made this soup today and it is delicious. I am on the weight watcher point plus plan and I entered all of the ingredients that have a point value ( fruits and vegtables are considered 0 points) I am happy to tell you that this fantastic soup has only 5 points per serving. I added a little brown rice to mine so the point value would be a little higher. Thank you so much for sharing this recipie.


Dorothy Reinhold August 23, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thank you for calculating the WWPoint value! So, so glad you like it.


Cynthia February 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I made this soup last night with red lentils and substituted cumin and oregano for the rosemary and bay leaf. It is really the best lentil soup i have ever made/had in my life!!! Wow – I think that garlic/tomato combo in there adds amazing flavor. So glad I found you – thank you!


Dorothy February 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Fantastic! Love your tweaks. Pull up a chair and stay for awhile!


Becca March 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

If I have dry lentils. What would be the best way to substitute for the steamed ones?


Dorothy March 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

I would suggest starting with 1 cup dried lentils (rinsed, picked over to make sure no little stones, etc.) and give them a head start in the pot by covering with broth and cooking for 10-15 minutes or so (covered). Then go from there with the rest of the ingredients. You can cook/boil/steam them in a separate pot if you like, but I am a fan of FEWER dirty pots and pans, and less muss and fuss. Just remember if you start with dried lentils, you will need additional broth because they will soak up some of it. Depending on what kind of lentils you use, they might be tender in as little as 20 minutes or so. I really think you can’t go wrong…lentil soup is very forgiving and earthy. Good luck, and come back and tell me how you did, so I can add it to the recipe! Thank you!


Becca March 4, 2012 at 10:01 am

I cooked them for at least 30 min until they were barely rocky. Then I followed the recipe except I only had dried rosemary and I minced the onion in a little processor so my 4-y.o. daughter wouldn’t notice them. I probably cooked it a little longer waiting for my hubby to come home. It was really good and easy. The best part was that my 1-year-old devoured it and ate as much as I put in front of him. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch today.


Dorothy March 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Well done! So glad your whole family liked it!


Julie December 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm

That sounds up our alley. Do you remember your Salsa Soup from the Tried and True column? I have been making that for years – so good!


Dorothy December 21, 2011 at 6:12 am

Do you mean my Weeknight Black Bean Soup?


Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls December 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Mmm that soup sounds so hearty and delicious!


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