Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup Recipe – Healthy and Delicious!

Are you in search of a hearty soup to warm you up on a chilly night? Look no further than Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup. This classic recipe, vegetarianized for those avoiding meat, is sure to become a household favorite.

Don’t be fooled by the underestimated lentil – this soup made with French green lentils is both satisfying and packed with protein. The simple ingredients are elevated by the addition of fresh thyme leaves and red wine vinegar, giving the soup a complex depth of flavor.

As an Israeli chef, I have updated this soup slightly to make it vegetarian, but it still remains a quintessential dinner recipe that will please any crowd. So grab your largest soup pot and let’s start cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Ina Garten's  Lentil Vegetable Soup(Vegetarianized)
Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup(Vegetarianized)

Are you bored of eating the same old soups every week? Do you want to try something new but healthy at the same time? Look no further than this Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe, inspired by the legendary Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

This vegetarianized version of her famous lentil soup is the perfect warm and comforting dish for a chilly night in. Made with French green and red lentils, it’s packed with protein and fiber that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. But what sets this soup apart from other lentil soups is the medley of vegetables that makes each bite a burst of different flavors and textures.

The combination of yellow onions, celery, carrots, garlic, red bell pepper, and leeks cooked in olive oil creates a harmonious blend of aromas that will have your house smelling like a gourmet kitchen. The fresh thyme leaves and cumin spice will give it that extra kick that everyone will love.

But wait, there’s more! This recipe also calls for vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. Plus, if you’d like to make it gluten-free or dairy-free, you can easily omit the Parmesan cheese that gets sprinkled on top.

Trust me when I say that even meat-lovers won’t miss the sausage or chicken stock in this wonderfully hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup. Not only is it loaded with nutrients and health benefits, but this soup recipe touching on all the things that make food enjoyable: it’s comforting, filling, healthy, easy to make, versatile in variations ,and savorily delicious in every spoonful.

So why not give this recipe a try at your next dinner party or family gathering? I promise your guests will be thanking you for introducing them to this flavorful dish.

Ingredient List

“A warm and hearty bowl of my vegetarianized lentil vegetable soup!”

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients that will give this Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe its unique, flavorful taste. Here’s what we’ll be using:

– Green and Red Lentils

We’ll need to combine one cup of red lentils with two cups of green lentils for a total of three cups. Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, which makes this soup a hearty and satisfying meatless option.

– Fresh Vegetables

Carrots, celery, garlic, red bell pepper, leeks, and yellow onions are the fresh vegetables that will give the soup its robust flavor. Be sure to dice these small enough so that they cook evenly.

– Spices and Herbs

This recipe calls for ground cumin, fresh thyme leaves, black pepper, kosher salt, bay leaves, and tomato paste. The seasoning is what gives this lentil soup recipe an exciting kick.

– Olive Oil

Two tablespoons of olive oil is all you need to sauté the vegetables until they’re soft and aromatic.

– Broth

The original recipe calls for chicken stock; however, you can modify it by using vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian.

– Parmesan Cheese and Red Wine Vinegar (Optional)

Ina Garten adds Parmesan cheese and red wine vinegar towards the end of cooking to add delicate flavor notes to the soup. If you wish to make it vegan or cheese-free, skip the cheese.

The Recipe How-To

“Perfect for chilly nights or cozy lunches, this recipe will warm your soul.”

Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of cooking this delicious Lentil Vegetable Soup. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make this hearty and satisfying soup:


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups of chopped leeks
  • 3 cups of chopped celery
  • 3 cups of chopped carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth for non-vegetarian version
  • 1 cup of large diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of French green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onions, leeks, celery, and carrots. Stir occasionally for about ten minutes until the onions are translucent and vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the minced garlic, cumin, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for one more minute while stirring constantly.
  4. Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth and stir well.
  5. Add the diced red bell pepper, lentils, tomato paste, and red wine vinegar to the soup pot.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered until lentils are cooked and tender for thirty-five to forty minutes.
  7. Discard bay leaf and stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper according to your own taste.

That’s it! Your Lentil Vegetable Soup is ready to serve!

Substitutions and Variations

“Satisfying and filling, this lentil soup will leave you feeling good from the inside out.”

If you are looking to switch things up a bit, the Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe is highly customizable. Here are some substitution and variation ideas that will help you tailor it to your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

First and foremost, if you prefer a non-vegetarian version of this soup, you can add cooked sausage or bacon to the mix. The original recipe by Ina Garten includes lentil sausage, but you can experiment with any kind of sausage you like or have on hand.

If you want to make the soup heartier, adding potatoes is an excellent option. Simply chop the potatoes into small pieces and add them in with the other vegetables while cooking.

Another ingredient that would pair well with lentils is quinoa. This gluten-free grain will add more protein to the dish, making it even more satisfying. Just cook the quinoa separately and mix it into the soup before serving.

For those who want a spicier kick, try adding diced jalapeño peppers or red pepper flakes. The extra heat will balance out the soup’s earthiness and bring a bold flavor profile to the dish.

Vegans can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit parmesan cheese if they want a dairy-free meal option. If you miss the umami flavor from parmesan cheese, miso paste is an excellent alternative that will add depth to the soup.

Finally, feel free to play around with different herbs and spices to personalize this recipe to your taste. Adding rosemary, coriander seeds or paprika are great seasoning suggestions that will give your lentil vegetable soup an added zest.

Serving and Pairing

“This soup is a great way to get your daily dose of fiber, protein, and veggies all in one meal.”

Now that your lentil vegetable soup is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy this scrumptious bowlful of comfort. The best way to relish its warm, nourishing flavors is by ladling it hot into a bowl, garnished with chopped fresh thyme leaves, followed by a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

This lentil vegetable soup is a complete meal on its own and does not need any accompaniment for a satisfying dining experience. However, if you’re looking to pair it with something to make it more interesting or want to add an extra layer of texture or flavor, then here are some suggestions:

Firstly, a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread or garlic bread would be an ideal match for the lentil vegetable soup. You can also serve it with a side salad of greens, feta cheese and red wine vinegar dressing to make the meal more wholesome.

If you prefer to keep things light, then try pairing the soup with a glass of chilled white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Grigio. The acidity and fruity notes in these wines will complement the earthy flavors of the lentils and vegetables in the soup.

For those who like something with more body and depth, then red wine would be an excellent choice. You can select a medium-bodied red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for an ideal pairing. The tannins in these wines will help cut through the richness of the soup while enhancing its savory notes.

In conclusion, there are many ways to serve and pair this delicious lentil vegetable soup recipe. Whether you choose to enjoy it on its own or with some bread and salad or wine, this dish is guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds and warm your heart with each satisfying bite.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

One of the best things about this lentil vegetable soup recipe is that you can easily make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. If you’re planning on serving your soup at a later date, I recommend leaving out any dairy toppings like Parmesan cheese until just before serving.

To store the soup in the refrigerator, make sure it is completely cooled down and then transfer it to an airtight container. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply pour the desired amount of soup into a pot and warm it up over medium heat on the stove while stirring occasionally. You can also microwave your soup in a microwave-safe bowl until it reaches your desired temperature.

If you plan to freeze your soup, let it cool completely and transfer it into a freezer-safe container, leaving some headspace at the top for expansion if needed. The soup should last in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, simply remove from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw overnight before reheating.

One thing to note about freezing this soup is that the vegetables may soften a bit during freezing and thawing. However, this won’t affect their taste or texture significantly. If you’re looking to recreate the same texture and flavor as when you first made your soup, simply add a little water or vegetable broth when reheating and adjust salt and pepper seasoning if necessary.

Overall, with its versatility in terms of making ahead and reheating options – this lentil vegetable soup recipe is not only delicious but also very convenient.

Tips for Perfect Results

When it comes to making a hearty bowl of lentil vegetable soup that is both comforting and nutritious, following the recipe properly will get you far. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can take your soup to the next level.

Here are some tips for perfect results:

1. Use French green lentils: While you can use any variety of lentils for this recipe, I recommend going with French green lentils. They have a firm texture that holds up well in soups and stews, and they also cook quickly.

2. Saute the vegetables: Don’t skip the step of sautéing the carrots, celery, onions, peppers, garlic, and leeks in olive oil. This will bring out their flavor and give your soup a rich, savory taste.

3. Add fresh herbs: Fresh thyme leaves are a great addition to this soup as they add a subtle depth of flavor. You could also add other fresh herbs like rosemary or parsley to make your soup taste even more delicious.

4. Season to taste: Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasoning to your liking. Start with the recommended amount of salt and pepper but add more if needed.

5. Serve with grated parmesan cheese: A generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese on top of your lentil vegetable soup adds an extra layer of flavor and richness to the dish.

By following these tips, you’ll create a flavor-packed pot of lentil vegetable soup every time!


Now, let’s move on to some frequently asked questions about this delicious Vegetarianized Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe. Cooking new recipes can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with some of the ingredients or techniques used in the recipe. However, don’t worry; I’m here to help you overcome any doubts and guide you through any uncertainties you may have. Continue reading to find answers to common queries about this fantastic dish!

How does Gordon Ramsay make lentil soup?

Alright, let’s get cooking! First up, we need to fry up some onion and garlic. We want them to turn golden, so keep an eye on them and stir every so often to make sure they don’t burn. Once they’re looking good, it’s time to add in some spices and tomato puree. Give everything a good stir and let it fry for a couple of minutes to really develop those flavors.

Now, it’s time to add in the lentils and stock. Make sure you measure everything out beforehand, because we want to make sure we have the perfect ratio for a delicious and hearty dish. Let everything simmer away for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. If you want a smoother texture, you can always puree a little bit of the mixture.

And there you have it! A simple yet satisfying dish that’s perfect for any time of the year. Just remember to taste as you go and adjust any seasonings as needed. Happy cooking!

Do I need to rinse lentils before making soup?

Before cooking with fresh lentils, it’s important to give them a good rinse to ensure that there are no unwanted impurities. When preparing the soffrito, it’s ideal to chop up the vegetables to the same size so they cook evenly. This helps to avoid having some vegetables turn into a mushy mess while others remain undercooked.

Is lentil vegetable soup good for you?

Lentil soup is definitely a healthy and nutritious meal option. Lentils are packed with beneficial minerals and protein, while being low in fat and high in fibre which helps with digestion. Not to mention, lentils make for an excellent vegetarian protein source with a whopping 25% of the total calories coming from protein.

How does Jamie Oliver make vegetable soup?

To start, heat up the broth and canned tomatoes in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point. While that’s simmering, take a large deep soup pot and put it on medium heat. A couple of teaspoons of olive oil should do the trick. Next, toss the veggies in and stir gently. Wait for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables turn a golden brown. Once that’s done, grab the saucepan with the boiling broth and pour it in carefully. You can now add your spinach to the pot and let it cook for 30 seconds longer. Turn off the heat and voila, your soup is ready to serve!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup recipe is an excellent choice for a healthy, flavorful and comforting meal. By swapping out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and omitting the parmesan cheese, this recipe has been successfully vegetarianized without compromising on taste. The combination of vegetables, lentils and spices make for a truly satisfying bowlful, and it’s easy to play around with substitutions to find what works best for you.

Whether you’re looking for a quick dinner recipe or a hearty lunch option, this soup will impress your taste buds with its complexity and depth of flavors. It’s also incredibly versatile: pair it with a crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal, or freeze leftovers for an easy meal prep option.

So, next time you’re searching for a soup recipe that is both wholesome and delicious, give Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Ina Garten's Lentil Vegetable Soup(Vegetarianized)

Ina Garten’s Lentil Vegetable Soup(Vegetarianized) Recipe

From the Barefoot Contessa show To Go, then tweeked just a leeetle to make it vegetarian. It is warming and rib sticking good. Yum! Sometimes in a pinch, I use ketchp instead of tomato paste, but you could also add a can of Rotel tomatoes instead(use about 1/2 cup less broth). If you like, change it up a little bit and add 4 cups of potatoes. If you cook it a few days earlier then you intend on serving it, it will taste even better and thicken. Freeze the leftovers in quart containers to thaw out later for a quick dinner. I think this would also be good with some soy chorizo added.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Vegetarian
Servings 8
Calories 349.3 kcal


  • 1 lb french green lentil (or brown)
  • 4 cups yellow onions, diced small (3 large onions)
  • 4 cups leeks, white part only, diced small (2-3 leeks-if I don't have I use scallions-about 8, the green and white parts-could also use shallots)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (if you use regular salt, use less, about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 -1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (go easy at first-you can always add more, but you cant' take it away)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leave (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin (some like to use curry powder or chili powder for a change)
  • 3 cups small diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups small diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 -2 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or red wine)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese


  • In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
  • In a large stockpot(7 qt.) on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, red peppers, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.
  • Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock, tomato paste, and lentils and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour(or a little more to taste), until the lentils are cooked through.
  • Check the seasonings.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
  • Good served with a salad and popovers!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 2383gCalories: 349.3kcalCarbohydrates: 54.8gProtein: 16.9gFat: 7.8gSaturated Fat: 1.1gSodium: 1016.5mgFiber: 21.4gSugar: 10.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, European, Lentils, Onions, Potluck, Vegetable, Weeknight
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You