Lentil Soup (Italian Vegetable)

October 17, 2018  ·  Published January 8, 2017

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Lentil Soup can come in many varieties. My favorite kind is this one, which is boasting with zesty Italian flavors and lots of fresh vegetables! It tastes a lot like minestrone, but with the addition of protein-rich lentils. In other words, it’s 100% satisfying! 

Lentil Soup in a gray bowl with bread on the side

The Best Lentil Soup

This vegetarian lentil soup is a must in your dinner rotation. I’ve tried many different kinds of lentil soup and this is easily the one I’d label the best!

It brimming with nutritious ingredients, it’s perfectly filling and it’s super easy to make. Plus, it’s perfectly comforting for all these cold fall days.

Even my kids love this Italian vegetable soup! We still have those dinners where it can be a struggle to get them to finish off their dinner, but no problem here! We love it with a side of buttered fresh bread or crackers.

Want to see how easy this lentil soup recipe is? Watch the video!

Lentil Soup in a large white cast iron pot

Lentil Soup Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh veggies (carrots, onions, garlic, zucchini and kale)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Canned diced tomatoes
  • Dried brown lentils , rinsed and picked over
  • Dried herbs including basil, oregano and thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Scroll below for printable recipe.

Ingredients needed to make lentil soup show n here including dry lentils, kale, onion, garlic, zucchini, lemon, vegetable broth, olive oil, canned tomatoes, dried herbs and parmesan.

How to Make Lentil Soup

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add carrots and onions and saute 2 minutes then add garlic and saute 2 minutes longer.

Showing how to make lentil soup. Sautéing diced carrots and onions in a cast iron pot.

  • Pour in vegetable broth and tomatoes.

pouring broth and diced tomatoes into a large pot of lentil soup

  • Add in lentils, basil, oregano, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

adding lentils and herbs into a pot of soup

  • Add in zucchini and kale and simmer 10 minutes longer.

zucchini and kale in a pot of lentil soup

  • Stir in lemon juice and add up to 1 cup of water to thin as needed (as the soup rests the lentils soak up more of the broth).
  • Serve warm with parmesan cheese if desired.

lentil soup full of vegetables in a large cast iron pot

Can I Make Lentil Soup in the Crock Pot?

Yes this will also work well being cooked in a Crock Pot.

  • To do so add the first 11 ingredients to a slow cooker.
  • Cook on low heat until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 7 hours.
  • Add kale and zucchini and cook 30 minutes longer.
  • Stir in lemon and serve with parmesan.

Can I Freeze Vegetarian Lentil Soup?

This soup does freeze well and reheats well. I like to freeze in individual servings and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat for lunch the next day.

Can I Use Different Vegetables?

The other great thing about this vegetarian soup recipe is that you can add in other veggies you may have on hand. Green beans, peas, asparagus, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, bell pepper, fresh (seeded and peeled) tomatoes are all good options.

Use up what’s in your fridge or pantry so it doesn’t go to waste!

Lentil Soup in a white pot with a wooden spoon

Tips for the Best Lentil Soup

  • Stick with brown or green lentils or adjust the cooking time. Red lentils cook in under half the cooking time of brown and green.
  • If you don’t have have the dried herbs listed here, you could also substitute 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning instead of basil, oregano and thyme.
  • If you are out of vegetable broth, chicken broth will work too.
  • Don’t skip the lemon. Even though it’s a small amount it adds a nice hint of brightness.

Lenti Soup shown here in an individual serving in a grey bowl set over a grey plate with a second serving in the background

More Healthy Soup Recipes You’ll Love:

More Lentil Recipes to Try:

Up close image of lentil soup in a single serve soup bowl

Lentil Soup in a large white cast iron pot
4.94 from 97 votes

Lentil Soup (Italian Vegetable)

This is the best lentil soup plus prep is quick and it's so easy to make! It's packed with fresh veggies, zesty Italian flavors and plenty of protein rich lentils. A filling comforting soup perfect for serving any day of the year!
Servings: 6
Prep10 minutes
Cook1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots (3 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onions (1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 4 (14.5 oz) cans vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups dried brown lentils , rinsed and picked over
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
  • 2 cups packed chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese , for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
  • Add carrots and onions and saute 2 minutes then add garlic and saute 2 minutes longer. 
  • Pour in vegetable broth and tomatoes. Add in lentils, basil, oregano, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add in zucchini and kale and simmer 10 minutes longer, if using spinach wait to add it until the last 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in lemon juice and add up to 1 cup of water to thin as needed (as the soup rests the lentils soak up more of the broth). 
  • Serve warm with parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

  • Stick with brown or green lentils or adjust the cooking time. Red lentils cook in over half the cooking time of brown and green.
  • If you don't have have the dried herbs listed here, you could also substitute 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning instead of basil, oregano and thyme.
  • If you are out of vegetable broth, chicken broth will work too.
  • Don't skip the lemon. Even though it's a small amount it adds a nice hint of brightness.
Recipe source: inspired by my Minestrone and Yummy Mummy Kitchen
Nutrition Facts
Lentil Soup (Italian Vegetable)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Sodium 1323mg58%
Potassium 1252mg36%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 16g67%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 10765IU215%
Vitamin C 79.9mg97%
Calcium 168mg17%
Iron 6.1mg34%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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242 Comments

  • Maricel

    Amazing!!! everyone loved it including my finicky 85 year old mom. I did leave out the lemon. Sorry I was scared to add it. I didn’t have kale or zucchini so I had to leave them out too.

  • Jessie

    Hi,
    I’m wondering about using canned lentils. I also plan to do this in my slow cooker. How many cans do I need? Thanks in advance. 😊

  • Kathy Frederick

    I have made this soup several times but it is the first time i had fresh kale. Omg, it transforms the already excellent dish! I feel this dish needs more zing so i added a tsp of red pepper and a shake of smoked paprika. This is so little work for such a great payoff.

  • Terry

    Excellent recipe, very easy and quick! I always double everything and make a huge pot! I’ve recently added frozen precooked meatballs and it’s a wonderful addition! Always sad to get to the bottom of the pot!

  • Karen

    Can I use canola oil instead of olive oil? Can I use a 24 ounce of garlic & herb pasta sauce, along with a half of of a vine ripe tomato instead of 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes? Can I use fresh cooked spinach which I’ll chop after cooking?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes those changes should be fine soup just won’t have quite as much texture, it will have a little more smoothness with use of sauce.

      • Cookie

        Loved this soup; so full of flavor. I added celery and red wine. Great with home made Italian hard rolls on a cold winter night.

  • Janelle B.

    I’ve never had lentil soup, but tis the season for soups! It filled by big oval crockpot to the brim. The flavor is great- I added extra of all the spices, and used fresh basil vs. dried. My complaint is: the lentils never really softened :( . I did mine in the crockpot, per the additional instructions at the bottom of the recipe. Its been cooking on low for 9 hours, then 2 on high.

  • AMY WARGELIN

    I loved this soup! I would like to know what the serving amount would be though. It was not listed. I assumed 1 cup.