10 Easy Soups You Can Make with a Bag of Lentils

updated Mar 4, 2020
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In terms of bang for your buck, you can’t do much better than a bag of lentils. They’re wildly affordable, packed with nutrition — including plant-based protein, fiber, and more — and there’s a color for every mood: brown, green, red, and (my favorite) caviar-like black. The differences go beyond color, with each variety delivering a slightly different set of textures and flavors. In fact, we highly recommend making room for at least a few different bags in your kitchen (it won’t break the bank). Lentils cook up so quickly that you are guaranteed to have a wholesome and fast dinner always within reach.

They’re wonderful cooked simply and eaten on their own or in salads, but we love them best in soup form, especially at this time of year. They become extra cozy and comforting when simmering in a pot full of broth, vegetables, and other good things. They soak up all the flavor, and become the best version of themselves. These 10 lentil soup recipes have a little something for everybody. Some are classic, while others offer innovative combinations of flavor. Some are fully vegetarian, and others are bolstered with a little meat.

1. Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

This classic lentil soup recipe has deep flavor thanks to a mix of smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander. Adding a splash of red wine vinegar at the end of cooking also helps brighten it after it’s been simmering in the slow cooker for hours.

Get the recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

2. Chicken Lentil Soup

To get this soup on the table even faster, reach for a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the meat yourself. Shred the chicken and toss it right into the pot after puréeing some of the soup and let it simmer until just warmed through. (Keep the bones for stock!)

Get the recipe: Chicken Lentil Soup

Credit: Matt Russell

3. Palestinian Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Za’atar Croutons

This tangy, aromatic butternut squash and red lentil soup is a fun way to jazz up a typical weeknight. The soup itself is hearty and delicious, but it’s the crunchy croutons that steal the show.

Get the recipe: Palestinian Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Za’atar Croutons

Credit: Coco Morante

4. Red Lentil Soup

While green lentils tend to hold together, red lentils have a way of falling apart when simmering, which adds plenty of extra comforting body to soup. This simple recipe is lovely as-is, but it can be jazzed up with a bit of curry powder or Italian seasoning, too.

Get the recipe: Red Lentil Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Slow Cooker Sausage and Lentil Stew

Toss a few sausage links into the slow cooker with your lentils and you’ll wind up with an extra hearty and delicious dish. The recipe calls for spicy andouille-style sausage, which will lend tons of flavor to the stew — though kielbasa or Italian sausage are also good options.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Sausage and Lentil Stew

6. Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

This thick and creamy purée is pure richness. The starches from both the lentils and the sweet potatoes blend into a super smooth meal. For a crunchy counterpoint, top with toasted pepita seeds.

Get the recipe: Red Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

Credit: Karla Conrad

7. Ethiopian-Style Spinach & Lentil Soup

This unique lentil soup is filled with just about every spice from your spice cabinet — cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, and more. It comes together quickly in either a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, so it’s the perfect choice for a last-minute meal.

Get the recipe: Ethiopian-Style Spinach & Lentil Soup

8. Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream

While the yogurt cream for this recipe is technically optional, don’t sleep on it. The cream helps cool down a piping hot bowl of soup and adds brightness and contrast to each earthy spoonful.

Get the recipe: Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream

9. Fridge-Clearing Lentil Soup

You’ll get a whopping 10 to 12 servings out of this vegetable-packed soup. That’s hardly a problem if you’re feeding a smaller crowd, though. The leftovers can be frozen in batches and taken out when you need a fast and comforting meal ASAP.

Get the recipe: Fridge-Clearing Lentil Soup

Credit: Emily Han

10. Pomegranate Lentil Soup

Stirring pomegranate juice into a pot of lentil soup might seem an odd thing to do but definitely give it a try. The sweet-tart flavor of the juice is a wonderful complement to the earthy lentils and fragrant warming spices.

Get the recipe: Pomegranate Lentil Soup