I’m working around the clock to send you all warm, healthy wishes in the form of easy, pantry-friendly food ideas. This hearty, plant-based tomato lentil soup is flavorful and filling. It gave our small household enough leftovers for a few meals. When made as is, this soup has warm, spicy heat, but you can easily make it mild for timid taste buds. This easy recipe is also naturally plant-based and protein-rich, and can be made purely from pantry ingredients (see my tips that follow).
Purely Pantry Recipe Tips
This recipe already does a great job of utilizing dried and canned goods. But if you’re really light on fresh ingredients, you can make it 100% from your pantry.
- If you don’t have onion on hand, omit it, and optionally add 1 teaspoon onion powder.
- You can use 1 teaspoon jarred garlic instead of fresh, or add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, if you wish.
- Omit the fresh tomato and herb garnishes, they’re optional anyway!
I originally shared this spicy tomato lentil soup recipe back in 2006, but am updating it with more information and clearer directions!
Special Diet Notes: Plant-Based Tomato Lentil Soup
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and optionally vegan and vegetarian.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ground red pepper or crushed red pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 (14½-ounce) cans low-sodium vegetable broth (can sub chicken broth)
- 3⅓ cups water
- 2⅓ cups dried lentils
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)
- Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin, chili powder, red pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the broth, water, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Let the soup cool for 10 minutes.
- Reserve 2 cups of the lentil mixture.
- Place half of remaining mixture in blender and process until smooth. Use caution when removing the lid - it might be quite hot. Pour the pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat the procedure with the other half of the remaining mixture.
- Stir in the reserved 2 cups lentil mixture.
- Serve garnished with the chopped tomatoes and cilantro or parsley, if using.