This low calorie lentil soup is chock full of vegetables, leafy greens, protein rich lentils, and tons of spices. It’s a warm, comforting, heart healthy bowl of goodness.
It’s the time of year to enjoy a hearty bowl of red lentil soup!
You know that time of the year when winter isn’t quite ready to let go, but spring is in the air. It’s what I call the mud season here in the mid-west. The calendar says it’s spring, but the days are still cold. The snow is slowly melting, and the ground is a muddy mess.
On these in-between winter and spring days I crave a warm and hearty bowl of home cooked soup.
I’m not a canned soup kind of gal. I know there are some decent versions of canned soup out there, and when you’re really in a crunch for time, they will do, but nothing compares to a home cooked stew or soup.
The scents and smells of a good soup on the stove fills your home with warmth and comfort. This easy lentil soup recipe fits the bill! It’s the perfect way to warm up on a cold day! It’s a healthy meal the whole family will love!
When my husband came home from work the day I made this soup, he stopped in his tracks and said, “Wow, what is that! It smells amazing!” After he tasted it, he exclaimed, “This is the best lentil soup I’ve ever had!” This has become one of our favorite recipes we come back to again and again.
Whenever I’m able to make a vegan soup recipe that my husband loves, I give myself a little pat on the back. It’s not always easy to please him.
Why This Recipe Works
- Full of Rich Spices
- Kid Friendly
- Easy Recipe
- Quick Weeknight Dinner
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
- Good Source of Protein
- Uses Simple Pantry Ingredients
- Budget Friendly Meal
Ingredients and Notes
Vegetable Stock or Water: I prefer to use a low sodium vegetable as the base for this soup, however, you can also use water. You may want to add more spices if you choose to use water.
Diced Tomatoes: You’ll need one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes. I prefer to get the no salt added tomatoes, that are also free of any additional seasoning.
Vegetables: This soup uses a combination of onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to create a mirepoux. A mirepoux is a combination of vegetables that are cooked on low heat to create a rich base for soup. At the very end of this recipe add the fresh leaf spinach.
Red Lentils: There are many different types of lentils available for purchase. They include brown green, red/yellow, and black. The different types of lentils taste slightly different, and have a different consistency when cooked. Red lentils have a mild flavor. They cook more quickly than brown or green lentils. They also don’t hold their shape as well, but make a delicious addition to this soup.
Spices: All you need to flavor this soup is Italian seasoning, cumin, salt, and black pepper! Italian seasoning is a combination of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, and coriander. If you do not have Italian seasoning substitute it with oregano.
Tools and Equipment
- Cutting Board to chop your vegetables.
- Good Knife to chop the carrots, celery, and onion.
- Large Dutch Oven to prepare the soup
- Ladle for serving.
Sauté Onions and Garlic: Sauté onions and garlic in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth until translucent over medium-high heat.
Add Vegetables: Add chopped carrots and celery. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Season with Spices: Add Italian seasoning, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat vegetables in the spices.
Add Stock and Lentils: Add the remainder of the vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Leaf Spinach: When ready to serve stir in fresh spinach.
Absolutely! Especially this version of lentil soup. With no oil, a modest amount of salt, leafy greens, veggies, and a super power plant-based protein this soup is filling, high in nutrients, and low in calories and fat.
One serving of this low calorie lentil soup has 104 calories, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber. The added protein and fiber will make you feel full and satisfied without the need to consume a large amount of calories. Lentils pack a nutrient rich punch with iron, potassium, and folate. Making lentils an excellent staple in a plant-based diet. This soup is an excellent to add to your collection of weight loss recipes.
Top with a wedge of fresh lemon, and chopped parsley. Serve with a hearty gluten-free or whole wheat baguette, and a simple salad for a complete meal.
Refrigerator: Allow the soup to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Make sure all air has been removed. Label with the contents and the date. This soup will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Reheating: When ready to eat, warm in the microwave or stovetop until desired temperature is reached.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup a bit to make it more creamy.
- Use red lentils for a softer texture, and brown or green lentils if you desire your lentils to hold their shape while cooking. Cook time will vary if using a different type of lentil. You will likely need to cook the soup for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to bring out the natural flavors of the spices and vegetables.
- Top with chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro.
Variations and Substitutions
- Use kale instead of spinach.
- Use green or brown lentils if you don’t have red lentils. Cooking time will vary.
- Throw in any of your favorite vegetables that are in your refrigerator. For example, zucchini, or peas.
- For a spicy variation top with red pepper flakes.
- No diced tomatoes, use a tablespoon of tomato paste, or a small can of tomato sauce.
- Prepare in the slow cooker or Instant Pot!
More healthy vegetable soup recipes!
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Low Calorie Lentil Soup | Vegan and Gluten-Free
- 4 cups vegetable broth or stock
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup red lentils rinsed
- 1 bag of fresh spinach 16 oz
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- In a large pot pour 1/4 cup of the vegetable stock on the bottom of the pan. Add onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat until translucent.
- Add carrots and celery. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add Italian seasoning and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat vegetables.
- Add the remainder of the vegetable stock, can of diced tomatoes and lentils.
- Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to medium low heat. Cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When you're ready to serve add the bag of spinach and stir to combine. It will look like a lot of spinach to add, so add one handful at a time until it is absorbed and combined with the soup. Spinach wilts down quickly. Serve topped with fresh lemon and fresh chopped parsley (optional).
- Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
- Serve with fresh lemon and parsley.
- If using a different type of lentil such as brown or green lentils the cook time will vary.
- For a thinner soup, add more water or vegetable stock.
- You can substitute kale for spinach.