Plant-Based Tomato Lentil Soup makes the Most of Your Pantry


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).

Plant-Based Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe made with canned and dried goods. Purely pantry option. Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and top allergen-free.

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!

Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe - plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, flavorful, and fulfillingI 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.

Plant-Based Tomato Lentil Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I don't recall where I originally found this recipe, but I have since added some slight modifications. Enjoy it with warm heat or a spicy kick. If you prefer a mild soup, omit the red pepper.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10 servings
  • 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)
  1. 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.
  2. Let the soup cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Reserve 2 cups of the lentil mixture.
  4. 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.
  5. Stir in the reserved 2 cups lentil mixture.
  6. Serve garnished with the chopped tomatoes and cilantro or parsley, if using.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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