This vegan lentil soup recipe is one of my favourite lentil soups ever, thanks to the small beluga lentils which I find so delicious. It’s vegan, gluten free, and of course, easy to make.
There are so many variations on lentil soup and to be honest I like most of them. But to like isn’t the same as to love!
Normally, I have a take-it-or-leave-it relationship with lentil dishes, but there are a couple of recipes which have broken through the barrier.
The first lentil dish I got excited about was a lentil lasagne cooked by the family I was staying with in Italy, (back in the 90’s!) using the same small dark Beluga lentils.
The next one to get me hooked was the Spanish lentil stew or lentejas recipe, which can be absolutely delicious if you get it spot on. It’s made with the (also fairly small) brown Pardina lentils.
Today’s lentil soup recipe is my third all time favourite dish for lentils.
Serve it with a red lentil flatbread for dipping.
So here goes . . .
Table of Contents
Which Lentils to Use for this Vegan Lentil Soup?
The black Beluga lentils!
Although you can use any lentils, using these small black Beluga lentils is the game changer which takes this lentil soup from being just normal to really popping and tasting sensational. I guess you could also use Puy lentils as they’re (supposed to be) similar.
Beluga lentils retain their shape and have a different, more subtle flavour to regular lentils. If you previously thought you’re not a big fan of lentils, I recommend you try these.
Of course, if you love all lentils, you can also use the standard Pardina lentil (or any other type of your choice).
Pre-Cooking Lentils for Vegan Lentil Soup
Place 250g or half a packet of lentils in a pan, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.
Discard the water and rinse the lentils well, checking them over for small unwanted ingredients like stones or other such intruders. I actually found a wheat grain in my last packet, so beware to check them over, especially if you’re intolerant to gluten.
Refill the pan with lightly salted water to just cover the lentils by about 1 cm and bring to the boil. Finely chop half an onion and add it to the pan.
Simmer until cooked, for about 30 minutes or however long until the lentils are soft. If necessary, add more water to the pan. You want the cooked lentils to have absorbed most of the liquid when they’re done.
Set aside for using later.
Making a Vegetable Stock for Your Vegan Lentil Soup
The easiest way to make a great stock for your soup is to take advantage of the cooking water from the previous meal, if there is any. Obviously it won’t always be possible, if you’re eating a jacket potato for example you won’t get the opportunity!
But maybe you’re cooking some potatoes for the meal before. Instead of throwing away the water which you cook them in, use that as a base for your soup. Even potato water goes a long way to giving extra flavour to the soup. Or you might have extra vegetable cuttings to cook up in the potato stock too.
Remember to keep it simple!
If you want to read the recipe on how I make my homemade stock if I haven’t got one prepared, you can see a post I wrote about it here.
Vegan Lentil Soup
This lentil soup has three components – a tomato & vegetable base cooked with ginger, garlic and spices, which is then added to the pre-cooked lentils and a tasty homemade stock.
Best Vegan Lentil Soup RecipeCourse: lunch, soup, main courseCuisine: vegan, gluten freeDifficulty: average
A simple hearty lentil soup
1 cm fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 finely chopped onion
1 tsp cumin & coriander
2 large parsnips
1 sliced leek
Gluten free soy sauce
Gluten free kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
3-4 chopped tomatoes
ready-cooked lentils (250g dry weight)
Handful of cooked/tinned Borlotti beans, pinto beans or red beans (optional)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (or use more fresh)
1 litre vegetable stock
75g baby spinach leaves
Olive oil for cooking
Vegan cream for serving (optional)
Fresh coriander for garnishing (optional)
- Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the very finely chopped ginger and allow to cook on a medium high heat for a couple of moments before adding the chopped garlic and onion to the pan. Sprinkle on a tsp of cumin and a tsp of coriander.
- Scrub the 2 parsnips and remove the hard bit at the end. Grate the fat end and finely slice the thinner end of the parsnip. Add to the pan and sprinkle with salt.
- While the parsnips start cooking, carefully wash and finely slice the leek. Check that the parsnips are semi cooked/fried before adding the leek to the pan and checking the salt level. I like to have it on the salty side at this stage to bring out the flavour. As long as the vegetable stock isn’t too salty, the level will be just right when you add the tomatoes and the stock.
- Add the sliced/quartered mushrooms and sliced carrots and allow the mix to sizzle until the parsnips are cooked (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking.
- Next, pour in a dash of gluten free soy sauce and a dash of gluten free kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and stir fry for a moment.
- Mix in 3-4 large chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they begin to lose their shape.
- Pour in the pre-cooked lentils, a tin of chopped tomatoes, the baby spinach leaves and the vegetable stock.
- Taste to check the seasoning and heat through.
- Serve with a swirl of vegan cashew cream and some freshly chopped coriander on top.
Video about lentils: the miracle of nutrition
- Any of the ingredients can be substituted for alternatives but I simply love the added flavour from the parsnips
Tips for Cooking this Vegan Lentil Soup
What makes the flavour ping for me are the fried parsnips which give such an incredibly moorish flavour and undertones to the finished soup.
As well as that, the type of lentils is a game changer (the small black Beluga lentils) and topping it off with fresh coriander and a swirl of vegan cream.
Use some potato water for the stock if you don’t have any veggie stock ready made and you’re good to go. The rest of the ingredients can be adapted as necessary.
Oh, and one other thing…I left the carrots until toward the end of the frying stage, adding them in slightly larger chunks, which resulted in them having a nice bite in the finished soup.
Other soups which you might like to try: