Earthy, hearty, warm spices turn this plant-based protein meal into a lentil and carrot showdown! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this vegan, flavorful soup that is full of fresh veggies and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. It’s comfort food that’s even better for you!
Mid-December and it’s crunch time! This week is busy with all the fun, as is next week, and I’m going anything and everything to simply stay healthy! I’m pulling a double hockey game tonight but can recover tomorrow evening before fun events both on Friday and Saturday evenings. I hosted our work team yesterday for charcutterie and sugar cookie making and decorating along with a white elephant exchange. We had a lovely time and only wish we could get together more often. Working in health care and having had so much illness on our team, we were down a few team members and were all very mindful of handwashing and went with air hugs over the actual squeezes. For lunch today I finished off the last of this Carrot and Lentil Soup which honestly, only got better the next day, and the next, and the next.
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Health Warriors: With a nice dose of zinc and vitamin C, this comforting bowl of soup will help strengthen your immunity and keep you healthy and well!
- Plant-Based Living: This vegan soup uses a greatly under-utilized plant based protein in lentils. They’re so versatile and truly get better as leftovers.
- One Pot: Using a single pot or Dutch oven, this recipe is a great soup to try on a cold day. Soup season is my favorite!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is an excellent choice for its antioxidants and monounsaturated fat content, in addition to its delicious, rich flavor, however avocado oil works, too!
- Onion: White or yellow onion works best, however red onion or shallots can be used as a substitute.
- Carrots: I used whole, large carrots to give a nice coin-shaped carrot slice in every bite, however baby carrots or rainbow carrots can be substituted in, along with any of the vegetables listed in the FAQ below, if you prefer.
- Celery: Feel free to use more, less, or none. Lots of options listed in the FAQ if you don’t have or enjoy celery!
- Garlic: Fresh garlic in soups is ideal – use more, less, or none, as you prefer. Feel free to use jarred minced garlic or substitute in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, if you prefer.
- Lentils: Traditional, greens lentils were used in this soup. Red lentils are a bit more mealy and aren’t a great substitute, but split peas would work well in lieu of green lentils if you’re looking for a substitute!
- Cumin: Ground cumin pairs beautifully with both carrots and lentils. In a pinch, you can use half curry powder and half garam masala.
- Coriander: Ground coriander is roasted cilantro seeds that have been crushed to give an earthy and nutty flavor. You can omit this ingredient, if you prefer or don’t have it on hand.
- Red Pepper Flakes: I love a bit of spice in this soup and prefer crushed red pepper flakes to cayenne, but a little less than half the amount of cayenne can be substituted in. The amount used yields a medium heat, so adjust up or down according to your preferences.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Without a lot of fat in this recipe, salt and pepper enahnces the flavors of the vegetables and spices. You can use more or less to your liking, as well as a salt substitute to control sodium, if you wish.
- Tomatoes: You can swap fresh diced tomatoes for the canned product, omit, or replace with broth.
- Broth: To keep this recipe vegan and lower in sodium, a low sodium vegetable broth (or vegetable stock) was used. Feel free to use chicken broth, beef broth, or bone broth.
- Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens and balances the soup, however it can certainly be omitted or lime juice used as a substitute.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- I use a mandoline when I have to slice a lot of vegetables – I used a medium cut for both the carrots and celery.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days
- Serve with a slice of warm, crusty bread to make a comforting, complete meal out of this hearty soup
- To add a bit of protein and to cool down the soup, you can add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, or sliced fresh green onionis a nice, colorful finish, too!
Can I change the consistency to be a bit creamer or a thinner consistency?
Yes, most definitely! Feel free to use an immersion blender to food process and puree a bit of the soup or add a drizzle of coconut milk to create a creamier, richer consistency or flavor…or both! For a thinner consistencey, consider adding 2-3 additional cups of broth. I don’t find that lentils make the creamiest soups, but that’s one of the things I love about brown lentils and their ability to hold shape and texture.
Are there veggies other than celery and carrots that can be used in this recipe?
You can use lots of different veggies in this recipe. Once that hold up well in soups would include diced sweet potatoes, cabbage, peas, corn, zucchini or squash, and spinach or kale. Feel free to include any and all, adjusting the broth and spices to ensure the flavor and consistency you enjoy!
Why don’t you recommend using red lentils as a substitute for green?
Red lentils don’t hold their shape during a longer simmer that is required to fully cook and tenderize them. Therefore, the result can be a bit grainy or mealy and it’s simply not a texture I prefer.
Are there other spices you could add to change up the flavor of this soup?
As noted above, curry powder and garam masala have flavor profiles that work well in this recipe or as a substitute for cumin and/or coriander. Chili powder or a bit of fresh ginger root would be nice enhancements, as well. You can certainly add any and all spices to this carrot lentil soup, however!
- This recipe is am excellent source of fiber, providing nearly 5 grams per cup of soup. A nice-sized bowl will offer about double that amount of fiber!
- Allergen-friendly: naturally gluten-free and vegan
- Sodium-controlled at 327 milligrams per cup — for soup (that tastes great!), that’s a very modest amount
- Packed with vitamins (beta carotene!), minderals, and antioxidants. Perfect for the sickly months where there is added benefit of vitamin C and zinc in the diet!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot.
- Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery; cook for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the lentils and slices, cumin through salt; stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- To the pot, add the diced tomatoes and broth; stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring occassionally.
- Stir in lemon juice and serve hot.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 2.9gSaturated Fat: .9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 327mgCarbohydrates: 20.5gFiber: 4.5gSugar: 5.9gProtein: 6.1g
Looking for more vegan recipe ideas? So much to enjoy!
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- Olive Oil and Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes
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- Thai Peanut Tofu Bowls
- Grilled Salsa Roja
- Chili Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli
- Homemade Roasted Marinara Sauce