This hearty, wholesome tomato and red lentil soup is very easy to make. It's healthy, filling and can be made from store cupboard ingredients.
This delicious soup recipe is simple and easy. Dried red lentils need no soaking, and cook down to a soft texture very quickly, which makes them perfect for thickening a soup. The recipe takes just 30 minutes to cook, and uses one pot.
Tomato and red lentil soup is super healthy, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Red lentils are very good for you and count as one of your 5 A Day. They are an excellent source of fibre, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. To read more about the health benefits of lentils click here. Tomato, onion and garlic, and the generous addition of herbs and spices also provide lots of extra nutrition.
This red lentil soup is hearty and filling. That's partly because it contains plenty of fibre, and also because lentils are made up of 25% protein which keeps you full for longer. If you want it to be even more filling and increase the protein further, you could top it with some chopped boiled egg, or some crispy chopped bacon bits. Sunflower or pumpkin seeds would also be nice.
This store cupboard tomato and red lentil soup has been one of my go-to recipes for years. It's a particularly delicious and easy way to include some pulses in your diet. And when you are running low on fresh ingredients, it's very handy. Plus, it's budget friendly, and vegan.
Dried red lentils. These are readily available in supermarkets alongside other dried pulses. Red lentils are really easy to cook with, they don't need soaking, and because they are usually split, they cook through quickly. Just give them a quick rinse before you add them to the pan. Whereas green and brown lentils are often available in cans, I think red lentils are nearly always dried. If you're looking for other ways to use red lentils, this red lentil bolognese recipe, or red lentil shepherd's pie are both easy to make and delicious.
Onions and garlic. Both these essential ingredients add a great savoury flavour to soup, and they are also very nutritious. Chop the onions relatively small so that they cook through quite quickly.
Olive oil, or you can replace this with any other cooking oil.
Tinned tomatoes. You can either use chopped tomatoes, or plum tomatoes which you can blitz down at the end.
Stock. Of course, if you have fresh stock on hand, that would be great for this soup. If you want a vegan tomato and red lentil soup, you'll need veg stock, otherwise you could use fresh gammon or chicken stock. Just make sure that you adjust the seasoning accordingly. Stock cubes and gammon stock can be very salty, and you are unlikely to need to add more salt.
Herbs and spices. Leafy basil or parsley will blitz down to a smooth texture in this soup, but still add lots of flavour. Add them towards the end of the cooking time so that they retain more of their freshness. If you don't have fresh herbs, dried will work well. Use a teaspoonful of dried herbs are they are much more concentrated. You could also use frozen herbs.
Turmeric and cumin add a lovely earthy note, as well as a rich colour.
Switch the herbs and spices around as you prefer. You could replace the turmeric and cumin with mild curry powder. Or if you'd like a spicy tomato and lentil soup, add a hotter mix. Substitute other soft green herbs for the basil - coriander goes very well with the spices.
You can also adjust the texture of the soup to suit your preferences. If you prefer it thinner, add more water or stock. And if you prefer your soup chunkier, don't blitz it at the end, or maybe just blitz it for a short while to leave some veggie chunks.
How to make tomato and red lentil soup
Start by browning the onions in the olive oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat. This will add an extra layer of favour as the onions caramelize slightly. Then add the garlic (which burns more easily) and fry for a couple of minutes more.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, spices, stock cube and water. If you are using dried herbs, add them now as well. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.
If using fresh herbs, add them towards the end of the cooking time.
Then blitz the soup until smooth. I like to use an immersion blender as that way I can blitz the soup in the pan and save on the washing up. Otherwise, carefully transfer to a food processor and process until smooth.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a garnish of fresh herbs. You might like to accompany your tomato and red lentil soup with these easy flatbreads which take just 15 minutes from start to finish. Or enjoy with a side of easy gluten free cheese scones or this tasty flourless seed bread.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, this recipe freezes brilliantly. I'd really recommend making a large batch of it so you have some left overs to freeze. When it's cool, place in a lidded freezable container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
I wouldn't recommend switching the lentils in this soup. Red lentils cook down quickly to a soft texture which is perfect for thickening a soup. Green and brown lentils are very different, and hold their texture.
If you don't have a hand blender, you can blitz the soup in batches in your food processor. If you don't have that option, leave your soup chunky - it'll still taste delicious.
Other healthy soup recipes
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. Or subscribe to the newsletter to receive delicious healthy recipes straight to your inbox.
Tomato and Red Lentil Soup
- immersion blender/food processor or leave the soup chunky
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled and very finely chopped or crushed
- 100 g red lentils
- 400 g chopped canned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup torn basil or use coriander, parsley, or dried herbs
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 stock cube, vegetable or chicken
- 400 ml water or use fresh stock and omit the stock cube
- Heat the oil in a pan, and fry the onion for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and fry for a couple of minutes more.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, lentils, dried herbs, spices and seasoning, plus the water and stock cube. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid the lentils sticking.
- If using fresh herbs add them a couple of minutes before the end of the cooking time.
- Blitz the soup in the pan with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a food processor to blitz until smooth.
- Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a garnish of herbs.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.