Red Lentil Soup

A high protein vegetarian meal
35 minutes Total Time
15 minutes to prep
20 minutes to cook
12 cups

It would be hard to pick my top 10 favorite recipes, but I do think this would be one of them. It is very simple to make, cheap, and delicious. It is one of the few recipes with some interesting flavors that my picky partner will actually eat. I love that it is vegetarian and full of protein. Red lentils are one of the highest protein beans. This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated. I have barely adapted it. The original recipe adds some lemon at the end and makes a mint paprika oil for topping the soup. The first time I made this I did not have a lemon or dried mint and we loved it as it was, so I have never bothered with the final steps. This is really a double recipe since the soup freezes so well. If you are unsure if you like this, you may want to make a half recipe instead. 

I am calling this vegetarian even though I do use chicken broth. If you are a vegetarian you can definitely use a vegetable broth. 

Red lentils cook very quickly, but I have noticed some brands take longer than others. Cook until the lentils are almost dissolving and whisking makes a creamy soup. This soup could be made vegan by using olive oil, but the butter flavor adds to the soup.



  • Gather and prep ingredients.
    Step 0
  • Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat.
    Step 1
  • Add onion and salt and cook until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
    Step 2
  • Add all the spices and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
    Step 3
  • Add tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    Step 4
  • Add broth, water, and lentils. Bring to a strong simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until lentils are soft and starting to break down. Stir occasionally.
    Step 5
  • Whisk the soup until it becomes more creamy and the lentils break down. This shouldn't take more than a minute. Season with more salt if needed. Serve.
    Step 6
  • Leftovers keep very well in the freezer.
    Step 7

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