Easy Lentil Soup Recipe – Vegetarian Option

Winter seems to be holding on strong, let’s warm up with this quick and delicious Lentil Soup. Packed with protein and flavor, this has been a go-to weeknight dinner in my house.

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Pre Cooked Vs. Fresh Lentils

The main difference between pre cooked and fresh lentils is honestly, time. If you have the time to boil a lovely pot of fresh, go for it! Dried lentils are cost efficient and can sit in your pantry for a rainy day. My favorite is the Rancho Gordo French Green Lentils. I literally buy it in bulk so I always have it on hand! Here is a great rundown of how to cook lentils at home.

Pre cooked lentils are a fabulous option if you want this soup to come together quite quickly. I’ve found they are widely available at many grocery stores, and the texture is always perfect. You can find them at Trader Joes, Target, you name it.

Why I Love Lentils

There are many varieties of lentils, and they are all packed with protein! In 1 TBSP, you get 1.1 GRAMS of protein. Lentils are an amazing option if you regularly eat plant based, or are looking into mixing more plant based recipes into your diet. We covered all the benefits of a plant based diet here.

All About Leeks: Onion’s Mild Cousin

Use leeks to give this easy lentil soup and mild oniony overtone. Leeks are a great root vegetable in the allium family. They have a light flavor reminiscent of garlic and onion, but much more mild.

While leeks are delicious, and typically not too difficult to find in your local supermarket, they can hold quite a bit of dirt. Because of all of the leafy layers of leeks, you’ll want to be sure to clean them thoroughly before using in your soup. Otherwise, you may end up with a gritty soup, and no one wants that!

brown handled knife
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How to Clean Leeks

Before beginning the cleaning process, trim your leeks. Remove the dark green, tougher leaves around, revealing the lighter, more tender leaves beneath. Then, trim the root end.

Next, cut the leek in half long ways (lengthwise). This provides easier access to the many layers of leeks, making cleaning easier.

After cutting, rinse your leek halves under cold, running water. Rinsing helps dislodge any larger dirt granules. Since we are using these leeks in soup, we want to be sure to get rid of all dirt. That means we’ll need to soak the leeks next.

Fill a bowl with cold water and add the leek halves. Use your fingers to gently get between the layers of leeks for a more thorough clean. Let stand for 5-10 minutes for maximum efficacy. Rub the leek layers to dislodge any more trapped dirt before thoroughly rinsing again.

wicker basket with ripe assorted vegetables
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If you are still finding dirt after this process, repeat the rinse-soak-rinse method until the water is clear.

Though this may seem like a lot of work: it’s worth it. Particularly if you are sourcing vegetables from local farmer’s markets or farm stands, you must be vigilant about washing your vegetables. Let’s not forget, plants come from the earth, so the fresher they are, the dirtier they are likely to be. It’s always worth it for a delicious recipe!

Soup’s Secret Weapon: Parmesan Rinds

Want to know soup’s best kept secret? Parmesan rinds! Yup. Throw reserved parmesan rinds into any soup, literally any soup, and you’ll get an incredible flavor boost.

The best way to do this is simply freeze any leftover rinds from parmesan to have a continuous stock in your freezer. Some stores actually sell parmesan rinds for this purpose, but in our book, that’s a waste of time and money. Better to buy the actual chunk of parmesan and use the rind for soup, instead of letting it go to waste.

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Why parmesan?

Parmesan rinds offer a few things that make soups so irresistible. The first is a rich umami flavor. This adds complexity and depth, with a deep savory finish. Since parmesan is a fatty cheese, it will also add richness to the soup. As the parmesan rinds simmer in the soup, they’ll start to break down, lending the soup a velvety texture.

Next, of course, is saltiness! Parmesan is a saltier cheese and this saltiness is passed on to the soup. It’s an instant flavor boost, as salt also enhances all the other flavors already present in the soup.

When using parmesan rinds to enhance your soup’s flavor, it’s important to add them early. They give texture and flavor to the soup as they simmer, so throwing them in before serving won’t do much good.

block of parmigiano cheese
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The longer you let parmesan rinds simmer, the better the soup will be. They should break down and become soft. Smaller pieces even have a tendency to dissolve completely into the soup.

If you don’t want parmesan chunks floating in your soup, wrap the rind in a cheesecloth satchel to simmer. A satchel makes it simple to remove the parmesan before serving.

Personally, I prefer to let the rinds roam free. When eating the soup, you’re a winner if you get a soft chunk of parmesan in your bowl!

brown ceramic bowl with brown soup
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How to Make Lentil Soup

Making this lentil soup recipe is easy! All it takes is some veggies and basic pantry ingredients to throw together a delicious, hearty dinner. Serve with some crusty bread for the perfect cold night meal.

To make the soup, follow these easy steps.

Saute aromatics

Saute leek and onions in a pot with oil and a pinch of salt. Stir occassionally until onion has softened and is fragrant. Then, add in the garlic and saute for a minute.

Add tomato paste

Once the alliums are softened and fragrant, add tomato paste. Frying the tomato paste briefly takes out the canned flavor as well as brightens the tomato flavor.

Add butter

Now it’s time to start building our roux. A roux is a combination of butter and flour, used to easily thicken soups and sauces.

Add the butter to the pan. After it’s melted, add flour and allow to cook down, stirring continuously to make sure the flour doesn’t burn.

Add liquids and deglaze

Next, we want to deglaze the pan. This is a process of adding liquids to cut the heat in the pan and release all the brown tasty bits from the bottom. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. That’s flavor gold!

Now add the rest of your ingredients — cooked lentils, bay leaf and parmesan rinds. Bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer at least 15 minutes, but the flavor will be better if allowed to cook longer.


That’s all it takes to create this delicious soup. Enjoy your homemade creation!

Let’s get cooking!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup Recipe – Vegetarian

Winter seems to be holding on strong, let's warm up with this quick and delicious Lentil Soup. Packed with protein and flavor, this has been a go-to weeknight dinner in my house.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: dinner, entree, lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: best lentil soup, cozy soup, easy dinner, easy meals, easy soup recipe, easy weeknight dinner, lentil soup, vegan, vegan recipe, vegetarian dinner, winter soup
Author: Regen Williams


  • 1 Soup Pot
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Ladle


  • 1 Cup Cooked Lentils
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Whole Leek Sliced
  • 1 Red Onion Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Diced
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • 2 TBSP Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine
  • 6 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Parmesan Rinds If you have it, throw it in! It adds immense flavor.
  • 1 Loaf Crusty Bread For dipping.
  • Sour Cream Optional garnish.


  • Add oil, leek, and onion to the pot with a pinch of salt. Stir until onion has softened in color and is fragrant. Throw in the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Once the alliums are soft, add tomato paste and let it cook down. About 2 minutes.
  • Add butter. Once melted, add the flour and let it cook down. About 2 minutes.
  • Add all liquids to the pot to deglaze. Once stirred through add cooked lentils and bay leaf and parmesan rinds, and bring to a simmer. The lentils are already cooked, you just want to let these flavors marry each other. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy with crusty bread for dipping, and add a dollop of sour cream if you'd like.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Hi! I’m Lauren, creator of edible ink. I’m a writer who loves food, travel and dogs. I started edible ink as a way to share recipes, food facts and travel tips for fellow foodies. Learn more.




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