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Looking for a one-pot vegan soup that’s hearty enough to be a meal? Look no further than my easy red lentil soup! Red lentils are a budget-friendly source of plant protein, and lentils are higher in iron than most other beans—making them a great addition to a plant-based meal plan.

I’ve been making some variation of this soup for the last 20 years! The base is always the same…red lentils, onion, carrots, and canned tomatoes. And then I vary the spices depending on what I’m in the mood for. In this recipe, I used curry powder, but you could also use cumin, chili powder, a dash of cayenne. Sometimes I’ll add a can of coconut milk, if I’m looking for a creamier texture.

lentil soup ingredients on a counter

I’ve been making this for so long that I don’t even need a recipe…the basic template is always the same. Start by sautéing an onion in olive or coconut oil in a large stockpot until the onions are soft. Then add the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes.

onions and carrots cooking

Then add the lentils, tomatoes, water, and any spices except salt. Did you know that adding salt to cooking beans actually toughens them? So you want to wait until the end to add salt.

Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Add in spinach, salt, and lemon juice. Stir until the spinach is wilted and serve. Voila!

lentil soup in 2 bowls

I love red lentils because they’re a cheap source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and high in iron. They make an excellent addition to any plant-based meal!

I recommend serving it with a scoop of brown rice so that you have a meal with complete protein. Beans & rice have complementary amino acid profiles, so if you eat them together, you get everything you need!

In the “olden days” of veganism, the belief was that you had to eat complementary protein foods in the same meal to get the benefit. More recent research shows that this isn’t true. As long as you eat all of the amino acids over the course of about 24 hours or so, you’re good!

This recipe makes 12 cups—or about 6 bowls of soup. It freezes beautifully, so feel free to freeze any leftovers for a quick future meal.

With 10 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per cup, this soup is guaranteed to fill you up!

red lentil soup with spinach in 2 bowls

Curried Red Lentil Soup

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 149kcal


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • In a large stockpot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, 8 cups of water, lentils, and curry powder. Cover and turn down heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  • Stir in the spinach, salt, and lemon juice, until spinach is wilted.


Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 494mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2345IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg

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