This Spicy Red Lentil Soup is just spicy enough to be warm and comforting. This soup makes the perfect rainy day pick-me-up! Healthy, dairy-free, and vegan, this delicious lentil soup is the absolute best.
This thick soup is a blend of vibrant vegetables, including carrots, zucchini, and tomato, simmered with red lentils and a blend of spicy flavors.
The spiciness comes from cayenne and crushed red pepper. Fun fact: cayenne and crushed red pepper are Capsicum peppers. Capsicum is what gives you that burning sensation that stimulates the production of endorphins.
Not to mention, cayenne and crushed red pepper are full of antioxidants and vitamins, which have detoxifying and healing properties – just one more reason to cozy up to a warming bowl of spicy red lentil soup.
4 Reasons to Make This Spicy Red Lentil Soup:
- It’s quick. All you need to do is chop the veggies and saute them in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the red lentils and cook them until they start falling apart. Red lentils cook quite fast, so in just 30 minutes, you will have a big pot of soup ready to enjoy.
- It’s easy. You don’t need to know any complicated cooking techniques to make this delicious recipe. Just cook the veggies a bit and then add the lentils to the pot and simmer everything together until done.
- It’s budget-friendly. It won’t cost you much at all to make this spicy lentil soup. Lentils are one of the most affordable protein-rich foods available today. Just add a few simple vegetables, and you’ll have an inexpensive, healthy dinner waiting for you in the evening.
- It’s healthy. This hearty soup is full of protein and fiber. This combination makes it low glycemic and very filling. It’s also naturally gluten and dairy-free.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Oil: You will need some oil to coat the pot and saute the vegetables. I like extra virgin olive oil because it adds some flavor, but you can also use avocado oil.
- Vegetables: I use onion, carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. You can also add other mild-tasting vegetables you have on hand. For example, sweet potato or cauliflower would be great in this recipe.
- Vegetable Stock: Use low sodium vegetable stock to keep sodium content down. You can also use chicken stock if you are not making a vegan soup.
- Red Lentils: Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and are rich in minerals and fiber. They break down much quicker than beans or other types of lentils, so they’re a great way to thicken vegan soups and stews.
- Spices: I use red paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. You can also use smoked red paprika for a more smokey flavor.
How To Make Spicy Red Lentil Soup
- Soften the vegetables: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent (2 to 4 minutes). Add the carrots and cook until the vegetables begin to caramelize (4 to 5 minutes). Add the zucchini and tomatoes and cook (stirring often) until the zucchini begins to soften (4 to 5 minutes).
- Add the remaining ingredients: To the pot, add the vegetable stock, water, red lentils, red paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.
- Bring to a boil and simmer: Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender and fall apart (about 15 minutes). Serve with crushed red pepper.
Make a milder soup or a super spicy soup! Use more or less cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper to your liking – or add a bit of cumin or chili powder to spice things up.
For a thicker soup, you can blend it up once it’s finished, or if you want some texture, blend only half of the soup and mix it with the other half.
Add more protein to the soup. Lentils are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. You could also add chickpeas, cooked quinoa, white beans, etc.
Load up on more veggies. Spicy red lentil soup is perfect for using up vegetables you may already have on hand like sweet potatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, bell peppers, jalapenos, etc.
Add some greens. Add spinach leaves or chopped kale for an extra nutritional boost.
- Fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, etc.
- Greek yogurt or sour cream or a dairy-free alternative.
- Nuts & seeds such as almonds, pistachios, pepitas, sunflower seeds, etc.
Storing & Freezing
- Storing: Be sure to let the soup cool completely to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- Freezing: Cool to room temperature and then store in a freezer-safe container (leaving room at the top for expansion) in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I soak red lentils for soup?
It is not necessary to soak red lentils for soup. Red lentils soften and dissolve as they cook.
How do you thicken lentil soup?
To thicken lentil soup, you can blend either all of it or enough to thicken the soup to your liking.
Can I use a different type of lentil for red lentil soup?
Red lentils are recommended because they break down faster than green lentils when cooked, and they do not be soaked beforehand.
More Healthy Soup Recipes:
- Instant Pot Mushroom and Barley Soup
- Hearty Ground Turkey Soup
- Beetroot Soup with Beans
- Canned Black Bean Soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 2 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 2 Tbsp red paprika
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- crushed red pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, for 2 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until the vegetables start to caramelize, for about 4 more minutes.
- Add the zucchini and tomatoes. Stir and saute the vegetables until they start to soften, for about 4 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, water, lentils, red paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until lentils fall apart.
- Serve with crushed red pepper.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1/6 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 260.5Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 0.9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5.1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 306mgCarbohydrates 40.6gFiber 8.1gSugar 4.6gProtein 13.2g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.