Thick and hearty, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup is good for you too! Completely vegetarian and vegan, this soup is super easy to prepare and is just what is needed to get you through the last stretch of winter. Make a big batch because this soup freezes and reheats very well!
This is one of those soup recipes that I keep in my recipe notes for a cold, blustery day. It’s the type of soup that is not only easy and delicious, but it fills up your kitchen with the smell of home cooking – and there’s really nothing quite like that! Carrot and Red Lentil Soup is very hearty. It is packed full of good-for-you ingredients like heart-healthy lentils, carrots, tomatoes, onion, and garlic too.
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I may have told you this before, but John.e is not one to offer up compliments or words of praise very easily. It isn’t that he’s unappreciative, but it just doesn’t come naturally to him to really express himself. I’ve learned over the years how to decipher his responses to my cooking and baking. For example, if he says it’s good without adding an adjective, I know that it can use some improvement. But, if he really likes something, he’ll say something like, “This is actually really good.” When he says that, I know I have a winning recipe!
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you might have noticed that I talk about John.e quite often. Well, that’s because I do! You see, Dear Reader, he’s the whole reason this blog started in the first place. He’s such a great catch – really! I’m not just saying that because he might read this, but because it’s true. (Besides, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not one to sugarcoat how I actually feel.)
THIS IS SOME REALLY GREAT-TASTING SOUP!
When we started sharing a home together, and I started to explore the world of vegetarian cooking, he was very supportive as I began to find my way around the kitchen without the aid of meat to flavour things like pasta, soups, stews, etc. And, he very patiently taught me all about meat alternatives such as tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, etc. But, through it all, every single time (I’m not kidding!) I’d place a meal or a dessert in front of him, he would taste it, smack his lips a few times, and say, “It needs lemon!”
I’m telling you all of this for one reason. It is to impress upon you how absolutely delicious this soup really is! You see, Dear Reader, when John.e tasted this soup, he was very forthcoming with compliments. The same day I prepared this Carrot and Red Lentil Soup for him, I also prepared a batch of German Potato Soup (with bacon) for myself.
Once the soups had cooled, I ladled them into serving-size containers and prepared them for the freezer. But, I had a lot of carrot soup, so I asked him to bring some soup over to our neighbour, Rick. John.e put on his coat and boots and I handed him a container of soup. He quickly pointed out that I was giving away carrot soup and not the soup with the bacon. He’s quite generous, but he really wanted to have this Carrot and Red Lentil Soup all to himself. So, take it from John.e; this is a really great soup recipe and you just might want to keep it all for yourself too!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE THIS RECIPE
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Olive Oil – Just a little bit of oil is needed to help cook the vegetables before adding the stock.
- Onion – I use yellow, white, and sweet onions interchangeably. Either of them will do just fine.
- Garlic – Use fresh garlic whenever possible. Even the pre-minced stuff in the jars is better than garlic powder or granulated garlic in this recipe.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Cumin – This spice adds a nutty warmth, pepperiness and smokiness to recipes.
- Carrots – Using larger carrots make it much easier to get a nice dice, but any size will do. Peel them and cut them into a small dice.
- Red Lentils – These tiny, reddish-orange legumes cook quickly, making them perfect for soups. The flavour is mild and slightly sweet when compared to the stronger earthier flavour of brown and black lentils.
- Tomato Sauce – Sometimes referred to as tomato passata.
- Tomato Paste – In savoury dishes, tomato paste adds a deep, home-style flavour. It also adds colour to the dish and in some cases, will help to bind or thicken sauces too.
- Vegetable Stock – If you are using store-bought, use low sodium. Some of them can be overly salty!
- Parsley – For freshness, colour, and garnish.
Lord Byron’s Notes
If you don’t have red lentils or can’t source them, try using yellow or green lentils. The colour of your soup will be different, of course, but they have a similar cooking time to red lentils. Black or brown lentils can take longer to cook since they tend to be larger. If you don’t like lentils at all, you can use yellow split peas instead.
HOW TO MAKE CARROT AND RED LENTIL SOUP
Add the onion and the oil to a large Dutch oven. Over medium heat, cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Next, add the minced garlic and the diced carrots. Stir into the onion mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
Add the salt, black pepper, cumin, rinsed and well-drained red lentils, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and vegetable stock. Stir well to combine. Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until carrots are tender. (If the soup becomes too thick, you can add ¼ cup of water at a time, stirring well between each addition.)
Taste and season if needed. Add one tablespoon of the chopped parsley and turn off the heat. Stir the parsley into the soup. Serve immediately with fresh parsley for garnish and a drizzle of heavy cream.
WHAT ARE LENTILS?
According to Bob’s Red Mill, which is the brand I turn to for dried lentils, they may be the oldest cultivated legume in history. Archeological digs have produced artifacts dating lentils clear back to 8,000 to 7,000 BC! Bob’s Red Mill sources their lentils from Washington and Idaho, where the very best lentils in the world are grown. The rich volcanic soil brings forth an abundant harvest year after year, earning the region its nickname, “Land of Lentils.”
Red lentils have a mild, subtly sweet flavour. Because they break down while cooking, Red Lentils are perfect for dishes like soups, stews, curries and dips. They’re very easy to prepare, needing no presoaking and cooking up in just 15 minutes!
Though small in size, lentils are a nutritional all-star. They’re rich in fibre and contain about a steak’s worth of protein, which makes them a healthy meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. They are also packed with folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
Lentils work wonderfully in just about any kind of savoury dish you want to create. Lentils are delicious when added to soups, stews, dals, curries and chilis, and are fantastic as a meat substitute for wraps, veggie burgers and meatless sloppy joes. They’re also quite tasty cooked by themselves and served over rice or mixed with other vegetables.
MORE LENTIL RECIPES
If you want more lentil recipe inspiration, look no further! As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I learned to cook with lentils with the hopes of replacing some meat-based recipes with them. By doing so, I have found some great recipes that use lentils and they are delicious – look at this Mujadarra, for example. Doesn’t it look great!? It’s a dish created with black lentils, brown rice, and onions.
I also have this Sausage and Lentil Skillet recipe. It is spicy Italian sausage combined with prepared lentils, tomatoes, and warm, comforting, familiar seasonings. This is an easy meal that satisfies the toughest critic. A perfect weeknight meal! And, what about these Curried Coconut Lentils? Or these Mexican Spiced Lentils?
One thing I never grow tired of is sandwiches. I’ve even made a sandwich recipe using canned lentils. Well, I figure if we can use canned tuna, chicken, or ham to make sandwiches, why not canned legumes too!? Try this Smashed Lentil Salad Sandwich – you won’t regret it!
LEFTOVERS AND/OR FREEZING
This recipe does make about six hearty servings, which might be too much or too little, depending on the size of your family. The recipe can easily be halved or even doubled. Just be sure to use a really big soup pot if you’re doubling this recipe! Once everyone has had their fill, you might have some leftovers. If so, you can transfer the cooled soup to a food-safe container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for at least 3-4 days. Otherwise, you can freeze it and it will last for 3 months.
If you do refrigerate or freeze the leftovers, you may need to add a bit of water to the soup when reheating. Start with just a few tablespoons of water at a time to avoid turning the soup into a broth! Of course, if you add more water, you will need to re-season as well.
Even though Carrot and Red Lentil Soup is a complete meal all on its own, you might want to consider serving this soup with a few other items. If you have a larger family, you can serve smaller bowls of soup – make it stretch further by serving it with some crusty bread. No matter how thick and hearty the soup is, you cannot go wrong with a slice or two of really good crusty bread. My favourite is just about any bread from Ace Bakery!
Soups are often served with sandwiches and this one is no different. Since you have a rustic vegetarian and vegan soup here, it just makes sense to serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich. That is if you like grilled cheese sandwiches! I’m not a fan of them, so I would make a grilled cheese for John.e, but I would probably make a ham and cheese sandwich for myself.
Do You Like This Recipe?
You should consider trying these other delicious recipes too!
Carrot and Red Lentil Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and well-drained
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Add the onion and the olive oil to a large Dutch oven. Over medium heat, cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
- Next, add in the minced garlic and the diced carrots. Stir into the onion mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the salt, black pepper, cumin, rinsed and well drained red lentils, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and vegetable stock. Stir well to combine.
- Bring the soup to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes, or until carrots are tender. (If the soup becomes too thick, you can add ¼ cup of water at a time, stirring well between each addition.)
- Taste and season if needed.
- Add one tablespoon of the chopped parsley and turn off the heat. Stir the parsley into the soup.
- Serve immediately with fresh parsley for garnish.
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